MySQL database monitoring service in the works

MySQL is working on a database monitoring and advisory service to help make life easier for database administrators to manage its open-source database.

Developers at open-source player MySQL AB are hard at work on a project code-named "Merlin" designed to make it easier for customers to manage and maintain the company's database software, according to a source close to MySQL.

Merlin is a server-based database monitoring and advisory service which continually scans a user's database network for any likely system crashes, bottlenecks or security vulnerabilities, the source said. Under development at MySQL for 22 months, Merlin is due to debut late in the fourth quarter of this calendar year or early in the first quarter of 2007. It's unclear whether Merlin contains any third-party software or if MySQL developers have modeled the offering on any existing database monitoring and advisory service.

The aim of Merlin is to simplify MySQL database administration for both small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and enterprises. While SMBs often can't afford to employ database administrators (DBAs) to look after their MySQL implementations, larger firms are running into difficulties trying to find sufficient DBAs with specific MySQL skills. Customer demand was a strong factor in the vendor deciding to create Merlin, the source added.

In an interview Friday, Marten Mickos, chief executive officer at MySQL, declined to comment on the project. However, he said that one of his company's main focuses in the coming year will be to provide tools and other offerings to make life easier for MySQL DBAs.

"Our first wave of users in the '90s were not database developers," Mickos said. "In the twenty-first century, we've been enabling database developers. Now, we're thinking of ways to help DBAs and take care of them."

Merlin acts as a "virtual DBA" or "a constant MySQL consultant," the source said, alerting users to potential system issues before they become critical and offering fixes, tips and tuning options to improve the performance of the MySQL database. So far, Merlin has 50-plus database rules that it can check and provide advice on, with the expectation that both MySQL and its customers will build more customized rules in future.

Merlin, now being beta-tested at 24 customer sites, will be rolled into the MySQL Network subscription service, the source said.

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