IBM Details MySQL on System i Offering
August 7, 2007 Alex Woodie
Among the various System i announcements that IBM made last week was IBM Software Announcement 207-172, which details the various support programs that customers can purchase to run the MySQL database on the System i platform. IBM also announced which database engines would be supported with MySQL Enterprise for i5/OS (hint: DB2/400 isn’t one of them).
Ever since IBM and PHP development tool maker Zend Technologies partnered to bring PHP to the i5/OS server more than two years ago, there has been a need to run MySQL on the System i platform. While Zend’s tools are useful for allowing developers to create new PHP applications that run on i5/OS and utilize the server’s integrated DB2/400 database, the vast majority of commercial PHP applications already in existence were developed to use the MySQL database.
While there were no technical limitations to prevent users from installing and running MySQL on their System i machines, it still took time to configure MySQL to work correctly on the System i. A series of technical instructions posted on Zend’s Web forums provided the more technically inclined with a guide for installing, configuring, and running the MySQL database on the System i, and other enthusiasts were available online to answer questions. But it was just too geeky for the business-oriented System i customer, who typically want simple, integrated solutions, and professional support. (Besides, it’s LAMP–Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP–not LADP–Linux, Apache, DB2/400, and PHP–that all the kids are learning today. Duh.)
These users’ earnest prayers were answered in May when, at MySQL’s annual user conference, IBM and MySQL announced plans for MySQL to offer professional support for the open source database running on i5/OS. The companies also announced their intention to support DB2/400 as one of the “engines” that power the MySQL relational database–an announcement about which there are still few details.
This week, IBM announced MySQL Enterprise for i5/OS, a new package of software and support services that System i customers will be able to buy from the IBM channel when it becomes available August 17, and redeem with MySQL, which will provide the software and support.
The offering includes the MySQL Enterprise Server database, MySQL Production Support services, and the Network Monitoring and Advisory Service tool, which MySQL bills as a “virtual DBA assistant” that recommends best practices to help eliminate security vulnerabilities, improve replication, and to optimize performance. Depending on the level of service needed, the sophistication of the MySQL environment, and the quickness of support services, customers can choose among Silver, Gold, and Platinum support packages.
No matter which package is selected, all customers get all code updates, including the monthly “rapid updates,” quarterly service packs, and all other notifications and alerts. Silver customers also get access to various components of the Network Monitoring and Advisory Services tool, including the administration, security, and “custom” advisors.
The MySQL Enterprise Gold package is aimed primarily at customers doing database replication. This package gives customers access to the replication advisor component of the Network Monitoring and Advisory Services tool and additional support services from MySQL’s tech experts, including reviews of database installations set up for data replication, and support for any replication problems that may come up, including troubleshooting remote systems.
Only customers with the most sophisticated MySQL environments need the Platinum support package. Platinum support customers get the schema and performance components of the Network Monitoring and Advisory Services tool, as well as reviews by MySQL’s pros of the implementation and performance of the customer’s database schemas, queries, stored procedures, triggers, user-defined functions, client APIs, and server extensions.
The level of customer care is also dependent on the support package purchased. The Silver package only provides for support during “business hours,” while the Gold and Platinum packages provide 24×7 phone support. All customers get an unlimited number of support incidents, no matter which support package purchased. But Silver customers must expect to wait up to four hours per call, Gold customers can expect waits up to two hours, and Platinum customers can expect to wait no longer than 60 minutes before getting their problems addressed. Gold and Platinum also provide for emergency bug fixes and hot fixes–services that Silver customers aren’t eligible for.
IBM also announced which database storage engines would be supported with MySQL Enterprise for i5/OS. The engines supported will include: MyISAM a high-speed engine for storing non-transactional tables, and also the default engine in MySQL; MEMORY, a storage engine that can be used to handle a string of MyISAM tables as a single table; EXAMPLE, a “stub” engine that does nothing and is used by developers; ARCHIVE, which is used to store large amounts of data without indexes with a very small footprint; and CSV, which stores data as text files using the comma-separated values format.