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MySQL Cluster 7.2 adapted for large web providers by Oracle

Oracle has updated its MySQL Cluster software to make it more appealing to large web service providers, among other users of large-volume distributed databases.

MySQL Cluster 7.2, which was released for general availability, "is a huge step forward for MySQL Cluster, taking it further into the web market," said Tomas Ulin, vice president of MySQL engineering for Oracle.

Two features in particular will help with such duties. The software now offers a Memcached API (application programming interface) that allows applications to access data directly rather than go through the SQL engine. The software also implements a speedier way of executing complex queries, or queries that involve joining data from multiple tables.

MySQL Cluster 7.2 is the first version to offer access to its data by way of a Memcached API. Used by many large web service providers such as Facebook, Memcached creates a hash table of commonly accessed database items that is stored in a server's working memory for quick access, by way of an API (application programming interface).

MySQL Cluster did offer a similar direct-access capability before through another API called NDB (network database). That API was proprietary to Oracle, however. The use of Memcached will allow more administrators - those already familiar with Memcached - to work easily with MySQL Cluster.

The software also introduces a feature called adaptive query localisation, which can reduce the time it takes to execute complex queries. Complex joins have been the "Achilles' heel" of earlier versions of MySQL Cluster, Ulin admitted. Such queries involve combining data from multiple tables, which is a computationally intensive operation, especially with large data sets. In its previous incarnations, MySQL Cluster would execute complex queries by collecting all the data on a server and execute the join orders.

Adaptive query localisation moves as much of the join computation as possible to the servers that hold the data. Much of the cross-indexing is done on the individual node before it is transferred to the server tasked with making the query. This approach can return results to queries up to 70 times faster than what previous versions of MySQL Cluster could do, Oracle claimed.

The software comes with a number of other new features as well. One is the ability to spread individual data nodes out across multiple data centres. The software also allows administrators to share user privilege tables across different nodes, eliminating the need to define user privileges on each server.

In addition to updating MySQL Cluster, the company has also certified the software to work within Oracle VM environments. Oracle has also updated MySQL Cluster's stand-alone administrative package, MySQL Cluster Manager, which is now at version 1.1.4.