In 1994, TcX, a Swedish consulting firm, needed a fast and flexible way to access its tables. Unable to find a database server that could accomplish the required task adequately, Michael Widenius, the principal developer at TcX, decided to create his own database server. The resulting product was called MySQL (pronounced “my sequel”), a robust and scalable relational database management system (RDBMS).
MySQL is a multiuser, multithreaded (i.e., allows multiple simultaneous connec-tions) RDBMS server that uses SQL to interact with and manipulate data. The MySQL Manual ( www.mysql.com/why-mysql/topreasons.html) lists numerous benefits of MySQL. A few important benefits include:
1. Scalability. You can embed in an application or use it in massive data warehous-ing environments.
2. Performance. You can optimize performance based on the purpose of the data-base in your application.
3. Support for many programming languages. Later chapters demonstrate how to ac-cess a MySQL database from PHP (Chapter 23) and Ruby on Rails (Chapter 24).
4. Implementations of MySQL for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and UNIX.
5. Handling large databases (e.g., tens of thousands of tables with millions of rows).
For these reasons and more, MySQL is the database of choice for many businesses, universities and individuals. MySQL is an open source software product. [Note: Under certain situations, a commercial license is required for MySQL. See www.mysql.com/
company/legal/licensing/ for details]
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