Oracle's thinking is that the Memecached interface can serve as an alternative access point for MySQL itself. Much of the putative sluggishness of SQL-based systems actually stems from the overhead of supporting a fully ACID-based query infrastructure needed to execute complex queries, industry observers said. By providing a NoSQL alternative access method, Oracle could offer customers the best of both worlds--a database that is fully ACID-compliant and has the speed of a NoSQL database.
With Memcached you are not accessing the data through SQL, but by a simple key-value lookup. "You can do a simple key-value-type lookup and get very optimal performance," Ulin said.
The technology would not require any changes to MySQL itself. "We can just plug it in," Ulin said. He added that Oracle was considering including this technology in the next version of MySQL, version 5.6.
One precursor to Oracle's work is a MySQL technology developed by developers outside of Oracle, called HandlerSocket, which also used Memecached as the basis of MySQL access, said Peter Zaitsev, the founder and CEO of MySQL service provider Percona.
With HandlerSocket, "you could get close to 1 million lookups per second on a single server, which is almost 10 times what you could get with a MySQL interface," Zaitsev said. Percona has already installed HandlerSocket in its own customized MySQL implementation, Percona Server.
Oracle's own planned NoSQL access for future editions of MySQL would draw heavily from HandlerSocket, though it would stick more closely to the Memecached API, Ulin said.
In a different project, Oracle developers have also devised a similar Memecached setup for MySQL Cluster, the fault-tolerant edition of MySQL designed to run across multiple servers.
"We thought any MySQL Cluster can natively provide performance that is closer to Memcached than MySQL server," he said. The cluster in fact provides a way of making the Memchached cache persistent, meaning it will not disappear should the servers lose power. "We can achieve the performance you would expect from Memcached," he said.