MySQL: Why It's HotElance_Cathy | Feb 11, 2009
MySQL is currently the third most in-demand skill on Elance, moving up three spots since October. In the last 30 days alone over 1,200 MySQL projects were posted.
In case you're not familiar, here's some background: MySQL is an open-source relational database management system with over 11 million installations worldwide. When Facebook first launched, they used MySQL to manage all their data - and they still use it today.
Combined with PHP, MySQL forms a "dream team (LAMP stack)" for web designers and programmers. PHP adds functionality to websites that html cannot; MySQL provides fast storage and access of a variety of data - the two work together to create dynamic web pages. If a web page displays dynamic, ever-changing content… the chances are a developer used MySQL to store and customize the delivery of that content.
So why is MySQL so popular with the Elance community? To find out, we went straight to the source. I spoke with Robin Schumacher, MySQL Director of Product Management, and Brian Aker, Sun Microsystems Principal Engineer, to get their thoughts on the MySQL growth trend.
"When you need a strong database management system - one that gives you the best TCO - you choose MySQL," Robin said.
Brian agreed. "The thing that MySQL brought to the table when it came out was the ease of use and the ease of installation. MySQL came out in an era where comparable products were really complex and required a lot of knowledge to be able to use and install. With MySQL the user is able to take the database, download it, install it, understand it, and then apply it to their application."
MySQL is an open-source application. (Open source refers to software where source code is made available for modification as users or other developers wish.) "When you look at other open source software such as Drupal and Ruby on Rails - they're all fairly easy to use - and that's also what makes MySQL so popular," Brian said.
This open-source concept has been key to MySQL’s product development success. Maurizio Gianola, Elance’s very own Vice President of Engineering agrees. “When I was Vice President of Engineering at MySQL, I experienced first hand the power of communities of remote developers working together. I could hire and work with the most talented developers, regardless of location. In many ways, the success of MySQL’s distributed force of developers inspired me to recognize the beauty of the Elance model that similarly leverages remote expertise.”
The recent acquisition of MySQL by Sun Microsystems has increased its popularity. “We were a company of about 350 people and some customers felt uneasy about doing business with a company that small,” Robin explained. “When we were purchased by Sun, we were averaging 50,000 downloads a day. We currently average about 70,000 downloads a day. People recognize that we are backed by a huge company, and because of that our average downloads shot way up.”
“And on top of that,” Brian added, “there was a point where businesses were afraid to use open source software – we’re now well past that point.”
What are the future plans for MySQL? “From a product standpoint - we focus on three things: Reliability, performance and ease of use,” Robin said. “When working on the product, we make sure that every thing we do enhances one of those three things,” said Robin.
“The future for the web market is in the new micro-kernel designed from MySQL called Drizzle,” said Brian. “The Drizzle MySQL micro-kernel will be what will power the next generation of web and cloud applications.”
And in all likelihood thousands of new Elance projects.