In what can only be described as a huge step in storing and analysing data, Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have teamed up to revolutionise MySQL. Put simply, MySQL is open source coding that allows users to build a relational database management system, like a shopping list or picture gallery – something that everyone from social media giants through to small business websites use. This partnership will develop the next generation of SQL, known as WebScaleSQL. According to Klint Finley at Wired, this will allow any individual or group to build much larger, more powerful databases.
Firstly, its worth noting that while Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have run projects together with many other companies, this is the first time all three have collaborated with Google on one single project.
The collaboration with Google is particularly noteworthy given it was they who, in 2006, authored the “BigTable” white paper. The influential paper “revealed an approach to data storage that did away with the traditional model used by relational databases”. A key part of the change was moving the database from one solitary computer to a network of servers, allowing for better processing and greater complexity in the databases. Despite this, SQL databases have not been eradicated, even if the new model has replaced a significant part of web infrastructure. Many of the technology giants involved in this project are in fact still heavily dependent on this old model themselves. The significance of this over reliance on now outdated coding is what spurred these companies to come together for the very first time and develop WebScaleSQL.
The best bit is the result of this collaboration will be “open sourced, meaning they’ll be freely shared with the world at large”. Read on through Wired for more details on how they’re doing it. We also highly recommend reading the blog post from Facebook’s software engineer, Stephen Greene, which details exactly where they are in the process.