5 signs you're outgrowing MySQL

MySQL has earned its huge installed base. But as Scott Sullivan of Clustrix argues, performance warning signs may indicate it's time to consider a NewSQL alternative

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3. Regular and/or lengthy downtimes
MySQL systems that have grown to serve large loads tend to have many potential points of failure.

You can design around this by creating multiple masters or read slaves, increasing cost and complexity. But each additional replica of your database is another link that has to be managed and kept in sync. Each is susceptible to data inconsistencies, falling behind, or dropping out due to software or hardware failures. Plus, the more systems you have, the greater the odds that one of them will fail at any given time.

Each failure requires manual investigation and recovery -- or automated processes and recovery systems that your team has to develop.

By contrast, NewSQL systems are designed to act as a single unit. You have one primary database to manage, along with a second disaster recovery (DR) system at a remote geographic data center. Whether your database server is made up of a few or dozens of servers doesn't matter; from a DBA's perspective, it's a single system. Hardware failures should be handled automatically as the system routes requests around the down components.

Smart NewSQL systems can self-heal and restore their ability to tolerate additional hardware failures without human intervention. Having these high-availability features and self-healing built into your scale-out database can reduce downtime events from hours to seconds.

4. High development costs
When your MySQL architecture is bumping up against the limits of single-instance servers, your developers start spending more time solving scale-out problems than they do working on features for your business.

On top of that, every new feature you request must be developed around your increasingly complex MySQL architecture rather than simple SQL principles. Simple requests become complicated. When your developers spend a lot of time scaling out your database systems, you have to decide if this method of scale is a differentiating factor for your business or time that could be put to better use.

5. Shopping for exotic hardware
Scaling up a single-instance MySQL database can only take you so far with current commodity hardware. You can swap in the most powerful CPUs your system can hold or buy an armload of RAM, but once your motherboard is full, that's it.

Upgrading beyond commodity hardware is a desperate last attempt to close the performance gap. A superfast system with all flash drives, 512GB of RAM, and the fastest processor money can buy will cost you more than a cluster of commodity systems.

True scale-out NewSQL solutions are designed to run on cheap, commodity hardware at the knee in today's price-performance curve. This keeps your operating expenses predictable, so they scale with your revenue rather than surpassing it.

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