MySQL Review

Free, cost-effective, with a powerful plethora of tools

What is our primary use case?

It is an ideal database to use online learning environments and SMEs. It works well with  Moodle, the open-source learning solution, and is the defacto standard for that product as Moodle is written in PHP which generally goes hand-in-hand with MySQL. As it is an open-source and free solution it is an economical method of storing important companies or small business data. At the same time, it offers a rich set of functions comparable to other large-scale enterprise solutions such as SQL Server and Oracle. 

How has it helped my organization?

MySQL is easy to configure, use, and implement. It is free, and cost-effective, with a powerful plethora of tools. It has improved my organization for my clients using Moodle and MySQL databases, as problems are usually easier to fix quickly, and the database resources can be optimized, easily. Even though it is not as sophisticated as SQL Server and Oracle solutions, it is the database of choice for most Moodle implementations. It has a history of reliability, which is always useful in a business environment.

What is most valuable?

The Cross-platform support for MySQL is great, as you don't need to worry about which platform or operating system you need to install the platform. This allows for interoperability.

Like other databases, it has a rich set of functions, such as stored procedures and its own procedural language, which is akin to Oracle SQL. It also has trigger and cursor commands you would expect with a good database language.

Views are updateable, which is useful when you need to amend a specific view of data for different circumstances.

It has it's own Data Definition Language (DDL), and provides an Information Schema, to view what is "under the bonnet" of your database.

What needs improvement?

MySQL tutorials and guides could be improved. Often they are too complex for someone with no database experience to understand. 

It is not an easy database to learn for the novice, and very often users need to take a course, employ the use of an online tutor, or IT professional to assist. Also, it is known that it is often difficult to locate guides for specific functions for developers.

It might be good to have some way of creating web services easier, rather than having to write a User Defined Function (UDF) in PHP.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using MySQL for about 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

MySQL has a reputation for stability, and that is one of the reasons it is so popular. Because it is easily available, just works, and can be integrated reasonably easily into other software, it is often the default platform of choice. 

It has been around for years, and chances are it will be around for the next 10 years or so, as new versions continue to evolve.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

MySQL is scalable for SMEs and works on a number of different operating systems.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had many issues with MySQL in the past, so I rarely use the support service.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used various databases in the past, but for my current business needs, MySQL is ideal.

How was the initial setup?

It was a simple setup, as it was included in the Moodle installation process for implementing learning sites.

What was our ROI?

ROI is not applicable, as MySQL is open source and is free, so you could say it is only the investment of implementing the database in your environment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing depends on the size of your business. For an individual to SME sized business the MySQL solution should be adequate for your needs. Setup costs are minimal.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, but for Moodle Learning sites, SQL Server is more complex, and is not multi-platform, Oracle is not recommended for Moodle, but the nearest to MySQL is ProstgreSQL. MySQL is reliable and easy to use. 

What other advice do I have?

You do need to have technical knowledge of databases in general, but MySQL is not too difficult to learn if used alongside PHPMyAdmin, but there are other tools you could consider, such as MySQL Workbench.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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