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Q&A: Open Database

Michael "Monty" Widenius was the creator of the MySQL database, and founder of Monty Program Ab. He recently spoke with Dr. Dobb's Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's: What's the Open Database Alliance?

Widenius: The Open Database Alliance is a vendor neutral consortium of vendors and individuals commercially supporting or delivering services around MariaDB and MySQL. Open Database Alliance partners will support each other's open source initiatives, and resell each other's services. This makes it possible for customers to get all services they require around their database issues through any vendor in the Alliance.

Dr. Dobb's: What's MariaDB?

Widenius: It's a community developed branch of MySQL with bug fixes and new features developed by the MariaDB community, of which Monty Program Ab is an active member. We will keep MariaDB in sync with MySQL development to ensure all bug fixes and features in MySQL also exists in MariaDB. At this time MariaDB 5.1 should be notable faster, have more features and have fewer bugs than the corresponding MySQL 5.1 release.

Dr. Dobb's: Is SQL adequate for 21st century computing?

Widenius: Yes. SQL will be around for a long time because it's a very expressive language that is very easy to embed in web-based applications. As long as people are developing web pages with programming languages like PHP, Perl, Ruby, and Java, SQL will have it's place.

Dr. Dobb's: What will the biggest change in data storage in five years?

Widenius: SSD (solid-state drive) memory will force a paradigm shift in how data is stored and accessed and a lot of old proven database algorithms have to be changed because there is no seek time anymore.

Dr. Dobb's: What's the most exciting development in DBMS technology today?

Widenius: On the software side, the usage of Memcached and Gearman to do inexpensive "cloud like" computing is of course interesting. We are also seeing dedicated inexpensive machines that provides Memcached interfaces which will notable speed up and simplify any setup that uses Memcached (which is a standard component for most busy web sites).

Dr. Dobb's: Will operating systems ultimately be successful in converting their filesystems into SQL-managed organizations of data?

Widenius: I think that is a stupid idea. Most data people store is not suitable really suitable for SQL. SQL will only notable slow things down when accessing things and will create a lot more fragmentation compared to modern file systems without providing anything really critical for the end user. Another problem is that SQL managed data is very bad of application that wants to have their own access to the part of the data (like another database server running on a SQL managed filesystem).

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