MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS), one extremely popular for use in web applications and ships with no GUI tools. But there is a wide range of MySQL front-end tools to choose from – some free, others commercial. Just because some of the tools are “free,” or “open source,” does not mean that these products are unsuitable for enterprise deployments.

MySQL softwarewill run on most operating systems; however GNU/Linux is the most popular operating system for today’s high-performance MySQL installations.

If you have SPARC hardware and/or x86 hardware, then Solaris is probably your best choice. It’s not as easy as GNU/Linux to work with, but Solaris is very dependable and has many advanced features.

Another option is FreeBSD, but this operating system has a long history of issues with MySQL. Windows is usually the OS used for development; however, Unix-like operating systems are more common in enterprise deployments – though Windows can be used for these, too.

MySQL database software is a client/server system featuring a multi-threaded SQL server supporting a variety of backends, along withan assortment of client programs, libraries, administrative tools and a wide range of application programming interfaces (APIs).

MySQL databases correspond with directories inside the data directory. Individual tablesinside a database correspond to a file (or files) within the database directory. As a result, the case sensitivity of the underlying operating system determines the case sensitivity of database and table names. For this reason, database and table names are usually case sensitive with UNIX but not case sensitive with Windows

With the exception of NDB Cluster, much of the MySQL clustering products in use today are relatively new. Here’s a list of the products that are the most popular: MySQL Cluster (NDB Cluster), Clustrix, ScaleBase, GenieDB and Akiban. Of the mentioned above, MySQL Cluster (NDB Cluster) is the probably the most common when it comes to looking for synchronous replication in MySQL.

Another newcomer to the MySQL clustering product scene is PerconaXtraDB Cluster, a technology that adds synchronous replication and clustering options to the InnoDB storage engine instead of via a new storage engine or an external server.Galera, the underlying technology, uses the “write-set replication” option.

When it comes to choosing one of the products above, as well as selecting the right MySQL database software, experienced DBAs will tell you that it’s really a matter of diagnosing your organization’s needs along with the DBA team’s experience and preference.