Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Cynthia Dunlop, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

MySQL for AP Hosted News

Bottom line: it just works

The Associated Press (AP), the world's oldest and largest news agency, offers a service that allows news providers to integrate AP online content directly into their Web sites. The service, AP Hosted News, is used by approximately 600 affiliate newspapers and broadcasters. The service handles between 150,000 and 500,000 pages of content per affiliate per day, supporting 11,000 concurrent users. MySQL, a free open source database, has been the backbone of AP Hosted News since 2002.

From Informix to MySQL

AP originally used Informix for the online news service, but the development team started looking for a new database vendor when the project was going through a redesign. They downloaded MySQL to use as a proof-of-concept model to demonstrate what they needed, but assumed that the production system would use a commercial database from a large vendor.

After getting quotes from several commercial databases such as Oracle and IBM's DB2, they realized that their exact mix of requirements were going to be very expensive. AP needed 24/7 support, speed, and reliability, but not the mix of other features the large vendors include.

According to Terry Ewing, senior systems manager, "Oracle tries to be everything to everyone, so when you buy the product, you buy all the extras that someone else needed. The licensing and support model is so complicated that we would have spent too much to get the solution we needed. DB2 would also have been hundreds of thousands of dollars." They eventually realized that MySQL would be sufficient for the job, as long as they could get quality commercial support.

MySQL had the speed and efficiency AP needed, and the product was free. High-quality support was available from MySQL, Inc., a company that provides expert support for the database.

"MySQL just happened to fit what we needed: speed and efficiency. It's because other companies had the same problems, and the product evolved to match what companies like us need most. We just don't need everything Oracle has to offer, so we don't need to pay for it."
- Terry Ewing, senior systems manager, AP

According to Ewing, ease of deployment and license flexibility were important. They are able to quickly add databases according to changes in news requirements. When the Iraq war was imminent, for example, the team added a casualty database without having to worry about license compliance or renegotiating a contract.

Nine Times the Performance, but Only Twice the Cost

Ewing wanted to be sure about the benefit of using Linux on Intel hardware, so he checked Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC, www.specbench.org) for a comparison against replacing their Sun hardware running Solaris. He was surprised by the findings. The cost of their older Sun hardware, originally $11,000, came out to $.60 per million operations per second. The Sun hardware they considered replacing it with, now $23,000, came out to $.83 per million operations per second. The price had actually increased for the same performance. Linux on Intel hardware with a 4-processor CPU, priced at $24,600, came out to $.23 per million operations per second. Once they knew how much power they could expect from the hardware, they added in the costs of the software.

Once the software and support costs were added in, Ewing calculated the performance of Linux at nine times better than Solaris on Sun hardware, at just twice the cost.

Support Is Better on MySQL

Maintaining the highest service level was a crucial requirement for the AP project, so it was important to work with a commercial support company. MySQL, Inc., was the obvious choice. According to Ewing, AP has received better support from MySQL, Inc., than he ever did with Informix. He believes there are a couple of reasons for this. "First, AP was using a particular application server that Informix was no longer totally committed to supporting. Since they weren't fully behind it anymore, we paid for 24/7 support, but didn't get the responsive help anymore. Second, Informix and the other major database vendors receive their money in a lump sum, and support contracts are just gravy. That gives them less incentive to work hard supporting customers. But since MySQL Inc.'s whole business is services and support, they have a big incentive to work hard for the customer."

Advice for Developers of Database Applications

Ewing's advice to technical managers deploying database applications is to maintain a distance between you and your chosen database vendor, which he calls "unbundling." Write applications so that you are able to switch databaselater if you find a business reason to do so. Be mindful of standards, and stay away from proprietary features. "We could always move to a commercial database later, since we built the application with unbundling in mind."

It Just Works

Even though the development team originally expected to use a commercial database, an open source solution won out in the end. "The decision to use MySQL was easy because the system runs on its own," says Ewing. "The key benefits of using the MySQL database are its performance, its stability, and its low total cost of ownership. Bottom line: it just works."

More Stories By Maria Winslow

Maria Winslow is the author of The Practical Manager's Guide to Open Source, available at http://www.lulu.com/practicalGuide and can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...