Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Cameron Van Orman, Amit Gupta

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
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. B2Cloud specializes in IoT devices for preventive and predictive maintenance in any kind of equipment retrieving data like Energy consumption, working time, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp em...
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
Real IoT production deployments running at scale are collecting sensor data from hundreds / thousands / millions of devices. The goal is to take business-critical actions on the real-time data and find insights from stored datasets. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud, will provide a fast-paced developer journey that follows the IoT sensor data from generation, to edge gateway, to edge analytics, to encryption, to the IBM Bluemix cloud, to Wa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
There is huge complexity in implementing a successful digital business that requires efficient on-premise and cloud back-end infrastructure, IT and Internet of Things (IoT) data, analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Applications. In the data center alone, there are physical and virtual infrastructures, multiple operating systems, multiple applications and new and emerging business and technological paradigms such as cloud computing and XaaS. And then there are pe...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, will discuss how data centers of the future will be managed, how th...