You’ve Outgrown Your MySQL Database, Now What?

MySQL has always been a great database option for companies in their infancy. It’s cheap and contains the basic functionality most organizations need. It is the simplest way to provide access to multiple databases for multiple users looking to sift through basic company structured data.

Of course, as companies hit the big time and see incredible growth in the number of concurrent transactions on their websites, they suddenly find that their affordable MySQL solution can’t handle this volume reliably—at least not without some complex, expensive and risky technical workarounds.

In the past, when companies were ready for a state-of-the-art relational database management system (RDBMS) they found that proprietary solutions from vendors like Oracle, IBM and Informix were their only choices. These big-box vendors were the only ones that could handle the large read-write workloads seen by then-emerging titans like PayPal and eBay. Consequently, this also meant financial prudence was not an option as customers were (and still are) then saddled with DBMS agreements that are too expensive and technologically cumbersome to break.

Newcomers have new and better choices (that older companies didn’t have)
Existing (largely on-premise) Oracle customers will likely never be able to untangle themselves from Larry Ellison’s clutches—they made decisions that they probably had to make, given the lack of viable options that were available at the time.

Emerging e-commerce, ad tech, gaming and other financial-transaction-heavy companies, on the other hand, have choices today that can help them steer clear of that sticky web. And if the strategies of companies such as Rakuten, MakeMyTrip and Twoo.com are any indication, this new generation of “born-in-the-cloud” companies is choosing a different path (which no doubt accounts for Oracle’s focus on selling existing customers on the Oracle Cloud). As we wrote in a recent article, it is a good time to grow up as an organization.

What would be on an emerging e- and social-commerce leader’s database wish list?

  • Contractual flexibility. Customers should be able to opt out at any time without penalty and easily extricate themselves technologically.
  • Pay only for what you need. Next-generation e-commerce, social commerce, gaming and ad tech stalwarts can now enjoy pay-as-you-go models and “flex” up and down to pay only for the database capacity they need. (By contrast, a portion of Oracle’s cloud customers are using less than 20 percent of what they paid for.)
  • Perform in either the cloud or data center. Ironically, Oracle is seeing more and more use cases for which it isn’t a fit because it doesn’t run in AWS, Azure, Google or other leading clouds.
  • The same high performance. Duh! Just because you don’t go with a big-box vendor doesn’t mean you should expect anything less than seamless processing of 40 million or more simultaneous read and write transactions.
  • Compatibility. Utilize the same MySQL tools with which your IT staff is already familiar.

MySQL may be a reasonable selection for startups and small businesses. But once a company realizes its most ambitious visions and begins to execute on its loftiest goals, they’ll find that they can now swap in next-generation RDBMSs that won’t force them to sacrifice flexibility and cost for performance.