Percona ups the ante for enterprise MySQL

Percona targets MySQL enterprise customers with two new products
Percona targets MySQL enterprise customers with two new products

Percona has raised the stakes in the enterprise MySQL market with the announcement today of two major updates to its products, Percona Server for MySQL 5.7 and Percona XtraBackup 2.4.  What is interesting is how competitive this market is getting and the Percona announcements come a month after its major competitor, MariaDB announced new funding ¦and changes to its board.

Percona Server for MySQL 5.7

The new version of Percona Server incorporates all the features and updates that Oracle released in October 2015 when it shipped MySQL 5.7 Community Edition. What makes this interesting to many customers is that the enterprise versions of many open source projects tends to lag up to year and often one or two releases behind the community version.

There are good reasons for this. The community versions are generally self supporting and users accept the risk of adopting the software early. For larger companies that have decided to use open source they like the security of a supported version with hardened code. Running production software on the edge is never going to be a risk free solution.

The press release has a list of new features and they break into three main categories:

  • Greater Visibility: These features are aimed at administrators and provide the ability to see what is happening with server activity and query performance.
  • Enterprise Performance and Security: There are a couple of big improvements here. One of which is the new Audit Plugin that enables policy-based monitoring and logging of connection and query activities. This will appeal to both security and compliance teams making it easier to spot unexpected exfiltration of data. It is also now possible to scale to over 10,000 connections per server with a new ThreadPool. For heavily used databases this will improve access and reduce blocking.
  • Percona’s Enterprise-Grade Feature for Free: Some of the features above such as the increase to ThreadPool are only available in the MySQL Enterprise Edition from Oracle. By providing them free, Percona is continuing to disrupt the Oracle enterprise market. It has also included its own TokuDB write-optimised storage engine. Percona claims that this is the only transactional storage engine for MySQL and is targeting those companies who are planning to use MySQL for the Internet of Things (IoT).

This is an impressive set of features and with many of them being enterprise grade it will be interesting to see how many Oracle MySQL Enterprise Edition customers Percona can win. The addition of TokuDB in particular will be welcome. As companies begin their IoT journey they are beginning to realise that they need a transactional database to cope with the large amount of incoming data.

Vadim Tkachenko, Co-founder and CTO of Percona
Vadim Tkachenko, Co-founder and CTO of Percona

According to Vadim Tkachenko, Co-founder and CTO of Percona: “Percona Server for MySQL 5.7 continues to offer the greatest value of any MySQL variant, providing free access to a powerful, enterprise-ready package that includes all the features of MySQL 5.7, along with Percona-only enhancements and many features available only in previous MySQL Enterprise Editions.

“By combining Percona Server for MySQL 5.7 with Percona’s other enhanced and highly trusted software solutions and our industry-leading Support and Consulting services, organizations of all sizes can cost-effectively achieve the robust, reliable, and real-time data infrastructure they need to compete in today’s data-driven environment.”

Percona XtraBackup 2.4

The second of the announcements focuses on XtraBackup 2.4 which works on any of the MySQL database variants in the market including MySQL, Percona Server and MariaDB. This is a free open source product that can be downloaded and used by anyone. However, looking through the new features it appears that some of the feature enhancements will not apply equally across different MySQL implementation.

Among the new features in Percona XtraBackup 2.4 are:

  • Greater speed: Percona XtraBackup takes physical data copies that outperform logical copies.
  • Uninterrupted transaction processing during backups: Percona XtraBackup ensures users can continue to query the database during backups.
  • True, online non-blocking, real-time backups: This is designed to deliver tightly compressed, highly secure real-time backups on transactional systems, enabling applications to remain fully available during planned maintenance windows. This feature appears to apply only to Percona Server for MySQL and presumably through that the TokuDB transactional engine.
  • Flexibility: Percona XtraBackup works with any version of MySQL from any vendor.
  • Non-intrusive Copy for Percona XtraDB Cluster: Delivers support for a robust backup strategy for large-scale clustered environments.
  • Value: Percona XtraBackup is 100 percent open source and can be downloaded for free.
  • Encryption: Percona XtraBackup stores backups in an encrypted form, enabling granular data access controls that provide an extra layer of protection for public and shared cloud storage instances.

It would be interesting to see how many non Percona Server customers who have downloaded and used Percona XtraBackup have then switched their MySQL implementation to Percona Server. With the introduction of the online non-blocking feature and emphasis on support for transaction environments this is a feature aimed at the release of Percona Server 5.7 which now has the TokuDB transactional engine.

Conclusion

Oracle has been losing control of the MySQL market for some time now. Percona is not the only player to target the MySQL Enterprise Edition customers with enterprise features in their general product. The focus on security and transactional performance in Percona Server 5.7 is sensible. Security is a major concern and beefing up audit capabilities is never a bad thing. At the same time providing transactional features at a time when companies are beginning to realise the potential impact on their databases as they start capturing IoT data streams could be a quick win for Percona.

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