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 localization, which can reduce the time it takes to execute complex queries. Complex joins are the "Achilles' heel" of SQL databases, 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. "You might have to shuffle 2 gigabytes of data up to the MySQL server just to get only a few lines" of resulting data, Ulin said.
Adaptive query localization 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 new feature "can really broaden the uses for MySQL clustering," Ulin said.
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 centers. 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.
MySQL Cluster software is available as a free download. Oracle also offers a supported version, MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition Subscription, starting at US$10,000 for servers with one to four sockets.