MySQL wants to build ‘database in the sky’

Meta-database planned

MySQL wants to launch a global project to build a massive, distributed repository containing all of the world’s data now stored in structured databases, the company’s chief executive says.

While search engines like Google aim to give people access to unstructured data on the web, this “database in the sky” would make available structured data to application developers and internet entrepreneurs, Marten Mickos, MySQL’s CEO, said at the recent Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

The data repository would be to database access what Skype is to internet telephony, and it would create the next-generation OLAP (online analytical processing) engine for data analysis and discovery, Mickos says.

The project seeks to apply the open source model to data, so that developers worldwide could share and aggregate data, Mickos says. “Then the data would be the platform”. He envisions, for example, being able to tap into all of the world’s structured databases that have weather information.

It would probably be required to build “a DNS of SQL servers”, address likely routing obstacles and make data definitions understandable and accessible to others, Mickos says. It would also be necessary for the data owners to have a willingness to make their database contents available.

But the most important ingredient will be to assemble a community of collaborators and volunteers willing to work on the project. The database wouldn’t be monolithic but will function on a peer-to-peer principle, he says.

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