An Overview of the New MySQL 8.0

mysql desktop

MySQL remains a valid database option for companies looking for an alternative to Oracle or SQL Server. While it may not offer the enterprise-level horsepower of PostgreSQL, it still works well for many scenarios. This is likely why it maintains its status as the most popular open source database in the industry.

Recently, the folks behind MySQL released version 8.0 of the database. New features and functionality abound. Let’s take a high level overview of this new edition to see if there’s anything to help with your own software development projects.

The New Features in MySQL 8.0

The new version of MySQL added a whole host of enhanced SQL functionality. This includes support for window functions, common table expressions, as well as the NOWAIT and SKIP LOCKED statements. Most notably, window functions provide the ability to perform analytics on stored data; this is long-awaited feature as SQL Server added it in 2003.

They also added support for descending indexes which provides a performance improvement, especially when working with large datasets. The new GROUPING() function lets developers build datasets that distinguish super-aggregate rows from the results of GROUP BY queries. Both of these features were highly requested among the MySQL user community.

Boosting overall application performance becomes essential when using MySQL. Version 8.0 gives developers a new syntax for including optimizer hints. You simply place them using something similar to inline comment blocks after a SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, REPLACE, or DELETE statement.

Additionally, the new version adds optimizer hints for a variety of INDEX and JOIN statements.  Now developers can control index merge behavior for each individual query or even the table order when performing a join. The MySQL development team feels the new optimizer hint syntax makes it easier to use while also boosting code readability.

MySQL adds Improved JSON Support

The JSON format is essential for web applications that rely on transferring objects expressed as a data structure. MySQL 8.0 improves its support for JSON in a myriad of ways. First, it adds extended syntax for ranges when using JSON path expressions.

The new JSON table functions lets you use regular SQL statements when working with JSON data. This is a boon for developers especially skilled in writing SQL queries. It essentially creates a relational view of JSON data.

Other new JSON features in MySQL 8.0 include aggregation and merge functions. A boost in sorting performance and the ability to perform partial updates are also welcome. The former helps to optimize large applications while the latter makes replication processes faster.

Other New MySQL 8.0 Features

Another significant new feature in MySQL 8.0 is support for GIS, including the Spatial Reference System. This lets applications using the database to easily calculate global distances given a LAT and LONG. The database now supports bitwise operations on binary data types, making the processing of IPV6 addresses easier.

The MySQL query optimizer also gets some improvements beyond the new hint syntax. Histograms and better handing of data buffering help engineers boost overall app and database performance. Finally, the database boasts improved reliability, availability, and reporting with an eye towards being used at companies following DevOps.

In short, MySQL 8.0 adds a host of new features making the database more attractive to organizations with high-demand applications. The improved DevOps support is also welcome. For more detailed information on MySQL 8.0, simply click on this link.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Keep returning for additional insights on the software development world.

PostgreSQL is a Hot Database Choice yet Again

It seems the venerable PostgreSQL database is garnering a new wave of buzz across the IT industry. Maybe our series of articles on Postgres earlier this year helped contribute to this newfound hipness? Probably not, but modern tech organizations hoping for a cheaper alternative to Oracle while still getting support for NoSQL consider it to be a worthy option.

Let’s look more closely at some of the reasons why PostgreSQL remains one of the hottest databases – relational or not – on the market. Perhaps it makes sense for your team’s next data-centric web or desktop application?

Postgres is actually growing in Popularity!?

PostgreSQL’s increase in popularity caught the attention of InfoWorld magazine, who recently talked about the database’s hot factor earlier this month. In fact, Postgres now ranks as the 4th most popular database in the industry, according to a study by DB-Engines. Not surprisingly, the only three DBs ranked higher are Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server.

The reasons for the growing popularity of Postgres – especially with younger developers – are numerous. InfoWorld’s writer, Matt Asay notes the improved performance brought by the support for JSON included in PostgreSQL 9.2 and boosted in version 9.4. Another important reason involves programmers growing tired of trying to fit even hipper NoSQL options like MongoDB into solution where a relational database makes the most sense.

Ultimately, in a situation when an old-school DB works best, PostgreSQL’s open source nature is simply more cost effective than Oracle or SQL Server. In fact, Postgres first earned its mojo as a cheaper alternative to Oracle. Still, could this old school database scale fast enough for use in modern web applications?

PostgreSQL and its newfound Scalability

The ubiquitous nature of social networks like Facebook and Twitter puts the onus on modern web applications to be extremely scalable. Most RDBMS options generally provide poor scalability, as did Postgres for most of its existence. Asay notes the introduction of Citus, an extension for PostgreSQL, provides a level of scalability rivaling many of the popular NoSQL databases.

Citus supports Postgres instances across multiple nodes, while providing a distributed model for transactions and SQL queries. These features give this veteran relational database the parallelism required for a massively scalable application able to compete in today’s market place. Take that, Cassandra.

While Citus is available as an open source extension, the company that developed it also offers a commercial version with full support. This is a similar model that EnterpriseDB followed with PostgreSQL itself. Citus provides a great option for shops working with Postgres for development and them implementing Citus for extra scalability before going live.

It also lets companies take advantage of their in-house talent’s database skills without spending on training in the latest NoSQL database options. These bonuses are arguably behind the still growing popularity of PostgreSQL.  Elijah Zupancic‏, the Director of Solutions Engineering for Joyent comments on some of the other core reasons.

“From a developer perspective, it is a pleasure to use. The documentation is wonderful, the data types reflect the types developers work with, and there is little surprising.”

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional insights on software development, testing, and occasionally, databases.

Barman and repmgr – Essential Tools for PostgreSQL

If your company’s software engineers are veterans with PostgreSQL, chances are pretty good they are also familiar with the utilities, Barman and repmgr. Barman handles the management of the backup and recovery process for a Postgres instance. While repmgr, as hinted at by its name, performs a similar role with replication – in fact repmgr also offers a measure of integration with Barman.

Let’s take a closer look at both tools to see if they make sense as part of your PostgreSQL implementation. If your team is considering Postgres as a cheaper alternative to Oracle, perhaps this additional information helps make your decision easier. Good luck!

Barman – the PostgreSQL Choice for Disaster Recovery

Developed by the well-known purveyor of Postgres support, training, and development, 2ndQuadrant, Barman is a worthy open source option for organizations needing a tool to handle backups and restores for PostgreSQL. It also plays an important role in any company’s disaster recovery process. Barman helps ensure databases are back online as quickly as possible – a vital factor in achieving business continuity.

In fact, Barman focuses its functionality on disaster recovery scenarios. It supports the remote and hot backups of multiple database servers, while helping DBAs or other network personnel get everything up and running again. The tool also provides remote management capabilities for multiple servers, including ssh support.

Other features include the local storage of metadata, PITR (Point-In-Time-Recovery), file compression, retention policies, incremental backups, tar integration, and more. In short, Barman is a fully functional backup and recovery solution for Postgres. Since it is written in Python, companies with developers skilled in that language can make modifications as needed.

Version 2.1 of Barman was released earlier this year. 2ndQuadrant also provides documentation as well as commercial support and consulting options. As an open source software product, a robust online community is available for advice on usage. Any company using PostgreSQL needs to explore Barman as an option for database backup and disaster recovery.

Manage PostgreSQL Replication with repmgr

Another open source Postgres utility developed by 2ndQuadrant, repmgr handles database replication across multiple PostgreSQL servers. The latest version of repmgr – 3.3.1 – was released in March of 2017, supporting Postgres versions 9.3 and later. It leverages streaming replication and the PostgreSQL 9 Hot Standby feature to ensure superior performance in high scalability and availability environments as well as ease of administration.

One of the unsurprising features of repmgr, considering the developer, is its seamless integration with Barman. You are able to make clones from a Barman archive, instead of accessing a live server. This helps prevent a performance hit on a production server.  If live streaming replication gets interrupted, an archive can be easily used in a pinch.

As with Barman, 2ndQuadrant also provides commercial-level support and consulting options with repmgr. When used together, both tools make it easier for companies to build an industry-leading relational database solution at a fraction of the cost of going with Oracle. It is yet another example of the benefits of open source software.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the wide world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!