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Forking Percona? Taking Measure of the MySQL Build

Charleste King | | March 22, 2016

Percona Server is a free, open-source, drop-in replacement for MySQL server that began as a fork of MySQL in 2006 and has developed aggressively since. Percona Server follows releases of MySQL very closely, and incorporates many of those features in the free-to-use Percona Server.

Percona Server is just one of several forks of MySQL that are available on the market today. Datavail has just released a whitepaper outlining the benefits and drawbacks of a half dozen different MySQL server configurations. In this post, we look at Percona, a fork of MySQL that has resulted in some of the most important innovations in relational database management in a decade.

Percona InnoDB & XtraDB

Percona is known for taking the InnoDB storage engine from MySQL and buffing it up into XtraDB, the storage engine used with Percona Server and MariaDB, another fork of MySQL. Ian McGuinness on the AppDynamics blog says, “Percona pulls in scalability, availability, security and backup features from the Enterprise version of MySQL.”

Percona XtraDB has more features and metrics than its counterparts, and is actively being developed. Its performance has been tuned to eke out a bit more bang for the same buck when compared to Oracle InnoDB. We can find no real observed cons unless and until you migrate to the XtraDB storage engine. This offers better performance, but it suffers from the same lack of migratability to InnoDB as MariaDB.

Percona XtraDB Cluster

It is open-source server software for MySQL clustering. It combines Percona Server and Percona XtraBackup with the Galera library of MySQL high-availability solutions in a single package that helps you create cost-effective clusters. Percona XtraDB Cluster is a great option for those users seeking a high-availability product. It is fairly easily to implement as all nodes have the same data. It can use any Percona and internal binary tools for addressing tablespace issues.

“Percona XtraDB cluster offers a number of advantages that make it an appealing choice for eCommerce hosts,” says Chris Wells, President and CEO of Nexcess, provider of Magento hosting. “Percona XtraDB cluster’s use of multiple database nodes presents opportunities for enhanced scalability, load balancing, and redundancy. But those advantages must be balanced against any potential performance implications.”

The biggest drawback is the transaction size limit. It can also be cost-prohibitive to have a whole copy of a dataset on each node. It is not a true write-scaling cluster. Percona cluster does not have as many production instances as MariaDB Galera.

Which MySQL Build Is Right for You?

You should become acquainted with the features of Percona, Galera, MariaDB, and Oracle builds of MySQL. Each offers benefits based on the size of your database, the quantity of transactions expected, the security level the data requires, and other factors that favor one solution over another.

The Datavail website provides many resources for those new to MySQL as well as long-time users. We have several whitepapers exploring the architecture options for MySQL and primary benefits related to using MySQL, including how to optimize MySQL for high availability, how to configure it for scalability, and how to use MySQL performance analysis tools.

With more than 400 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest pure-play database services provider in North America. With 24×7 managed database services, including database design, architecture and staffing, Datavail can support your organization as it works with MySQL, regardless of the build you ultimately select. Contact Datavail to discuss a custom MySQL solution designed for your enterprise.

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