MySQL is one of the most popular databases on the planet. It holds the top spot, along with Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. It is especially popular as a web server database, being very easy to use. MariaDB and Percona Server are compatible with MySQL, so all our solutions for MySQL work well with MariaDB and Percona.
MySQL was made by MySQL AB, an open-source company founded in 1995. The database is named after co-founder Michael 'Monty' Widenius's daughter, My.
MySQL AB was one of the largest open-source companies in the world with around 400 employees in 25 countries. It was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008. Sun itself was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2010, thus MySQL today is owned by Oracle. Monty tried stopping Oracle’s ownership of MySQL (citing worries of Oracle deliberately keeping MySQL weak in order not to cannibalize Oracle database licenses), but failed. Monty then left Sun, forked MySQL into MariaDB (named after his other daughter, Maria) and continued working on MariaDB till the present day.
Worldwide success of MySQL can be attributed to its simplicity and speed when used in simple usage scenarios. As most websites need just very simple features, MySQL excels for their use case. For a long time, MySQL didn’t even support transactions, which changed with introduction of InnoDB table storage engine, a default engine starting with MySQL 5.5. Ability to use different engines per table in a single database is one of the most innovative features of MySQL. For example, you can use very fast MyISAM engine for log files, where you don’t can about transactions, and InnoDB engine for tables holding user data, purchases, documents and like.
Programmability of MySQL is pretty modest. Compared to big players like Oracle and SQL Server, MySQL can’t compete due to many of the advanced features missing. That’s why shops who start with MySQL tend to move to one of the more powerful databases as their demands grow. However, for large scale, there are good solutions based on MySQL, so companies who have great load find that MySQL can fill their needs well.