What Can MySQL Do For You?

MySQL bills itself “The World’s Most Popular Open Source Database,” and with good reason.  Although an open source database solution might not be the choice for every enterprise, MySQL does provide high performance, scalability and flexibility for only a fraction of the cost of other database servers solutions.  There are three major ways to leverage the power of MySQL in central business functions—developing online applications, data warehousing, and enterprise-level custom applications.

Online Applications:  Powering Web 2.0

As part of the LAMP open source stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, & PHP/Perl/Python), MySQL has been foundational in developing many of the world’s fastest-growing social applications.  By facilitating performance, scalability, and reliability, MySQL and the LAMP stack enable transactional and interactive web-based applications to scale-out and meet the needs of growing users and data.  Some of the biggest names on the net are harnessing the power of MySQL for their Web 2.0 applications:

Online worlds—Neopets, Second Life
Web syndication & feeds – Digg, Feedburner, Google Reader
Blogs – Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal
Social Networking – MySpace, Friendster
Wikis – Wikipedia
Customized search engines – Craigslist, Trulia, Technorati
File sharing – YouTube, Flickr, Snapfish

Data Warehouse:  Keeping Information Safe

Of course, one of the primary functions of any database is to keep your data stored, organized, and safe for easy access.  MySQL offers an array of storage engines, both developed in-house and externally, which allow you to create, retrieve, update, and delete (the CRUD acronym—the four basic functions of persistent storage) your data as needed.  MyISAM is a common internal storage engine from MySQL developed specifically for data warehousing applications, although it is non-transactional.  InnoDB is a popular externally developed search engine, which supports both ACID-compliant transactions and foreign keys.  Other storage engines, such as Archive, Memory, CSV and Merge from MySQL are designed towards specific data warehousing functions.  Choosing the best storage engine for your given database application is essential to successful data warehousing.

Enterprise-level Custom Applications

MySQL is also a remarkably flexible database for a variety of custom enterprise-level applications.  MySQL has been effectively utilized in the IT industry and others for a variety of client, employee, and operational functions— even those that have traditionally been handled by proprietary database software.  MySQL Enterprise provides many of the features and support necessary to facilitate transactional and customer relationship management applications such as:

Call centers
Helpdesk applications (including support ticketing systems)
Financial applications (including automating loan applications and asset management)
Research, documentation, and testing
Human resources applications (including absence management and vacation tracking applications)

Unfortunately, all-too-often databases are a source of headaches, with lost and corrupted data and inefficient functionality.  But, when effectively utilized, your database can be foundational in the execution of your business’ most central functions, from HR to customer relationship management to value-driving operations.

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