SANTA CLARA, Calif.—In the open-source IT world, it's not unusual for a commercial enterprise to want to "own," so to speak, a particular piece of software or a software platform that has been developed by the community and set free for the world to use.
In actuality, a company can never "own" something like the Linux or Android operating systems, the Hadoop batch-processing analytics package or the Apache Web server. Nor can anyone lay claim to exclusive rights to open-source databases, such as MySQL. They can use those as foundations and add new functionality or services, and then try to sell it to make some income.
This classic open-source model is what has made IT what it is today. We wouldn't have anything near the Internet we have today, nor would we have the business and mobile applications we use every day, if not for the open-source IT community and all the work those people have done all over the globe for the last 20 to 25 years.
Durham, N.C.-based database toolmaker and service provider Percona is following this model to an exact science when it comes to the popular MySQL database. In fact, it is so enmeshed with MySQL, which runs in an estimated 60 percent of all enterprise systems, that it would like to be known as the "Red Hat" of MySQL.
MySQL is the world's most popular open-source database. With some 65,000 downloads per day, MySQL is the first choice for a wide range of database developers, DBAs and IT managers due to its reliability, affordability and ease of use.
Forrester Research reports that MySQL continues to have the largest mindshare in the open-source database market and the highest number of paying customers for product support: an estimated 20,000.
'All Things MySQL'
"You can think of Percona as doing all things MySQL for the ecosystem," Peter Zaitsev, founder and CEO of Percona, told eWEEK during a break at the company's Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo here April 2. "We do support, consulting, service and training—we're a one-stop shop for MySQL. Where you have any type of MySQL problem, we can help users be more successful."
As for taking over the MySQL conference, Zaitsev and Chief Marketing Officer Terry Erisman both know that it helps position Percona as an industry thought leader by owning the event. Percona has served as host for the conference for three years, ever since taking it over from O'Reilly Media in 2011.
"We really look closely at each customer's environment, see what they have, and suggest ways on how to improve it and solve problems," Erisman said. "We will dedicate personalized help in each case as needed."
Percona also hosts and moderates MySQLPerformaceblog.com, one of the central meeting and discussion places on the Web for developers of this type.
True Open-Source Attitude
Percona is a true open-source-minded company in that it isn't afraid to cooperate with competitors in order to provide the solution a customer wants.
For example, news from the conference included the announcement of a new collaboration with flash storage provider Fusion-io and MariaDB, an open-source DB competitor, on new flash-aware interfaces to increase performance and efficiencies.
Percona and Fusion-io introduced NVM (non-volatile memory) Compression, which it claims can double the usable capacity of ioMemory flash while eliminating the performance impact associated with disk-era compression algorithms commonly used with flash SSDs.
When integrated with the Atomic Writes interface, NVM Compression also delivers 4x more flash endurance by streamlining commands to optimize databases for persistent flash memory architectures.
"From each email we send to every song we listen to online, databases manage our ever-expanding information that must be processed and stored," said Monty Widenius, creator of MariaDB.
"The NVM Compression interface emphasizes how flash architected as a memory for application acceleration goes far beyond the capabilities of SSDs. The results MariaDB saw in testing NVM Compression were astounding."