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Facebook launches project for web-scale MySQL

Facebook has announced a collaboration with some of the web's other largest companies - including Google, LinkedIn and Twitter - in order to build a new web-scale variant of MySQL that will be more suited to large-scale applications.

Called WebScaleSQL, the traditional rivals are working together to share a common base of code changes to the upstream MySQL branch that all participants will be able to use, and which will be made available to the wider community as open source.

In a blog post, Facebook software engineer Steaphan Greene explained all the collaborators are facing similar challenges in running MySQL deployments at scale and are looking to extract better performance from a technology that is otherwise well-tailored to their needs.

He said: "We aim to create a more integrated system of knowledge-sharing to help companies leverage the great features already found in MySQL 5.6, while building and adding more features that are specific to deployments in large scale environments."

Engineers from Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn have already contributed code and provided feedback to each other over the last four months to help create a new, more unified and more collaborative branch of MySQL, he added.

So far, achievements of the project include an automated framework that will run and publish the results of MySQL's built-in test system for each proposed change, a full new suite of stress tests, changes to improve the performance of WebScaleSQL and new features that make operating the database solution at scale easier, such as super_read_only and the ability to specify sub-second client timeouts.

However, Mr Greene added that the companies recognise that they are not the only ones attempting to improve MySQL for a large-scale, web-based environment, which is why the project will ensure that WebScaleSQL is kept open as it develops, enabling other members of the community to contribute their solutions.

"We're excited to expand our existing work on WebScaleSQL, and we think that this collaboration represents an opportunity for the scale-oriented members of the MySQL community to work together in a more efficient and transparent way that will benefit us all," he said.