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MySQL Powers Yahoo! Finance

  • July 01 2002, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Jeremy Zawodny, technical Yahoo! for Yahoo! Inc.

BACKGROUND: Yahoo! Inc. is a leading provider of comprehensive online products and services to consumers and businesses worldwide. Yahoo! reaches more than 219 million individuals worldwide each month and is the number one Internet brand globally. Yahoo!'s global network includes 25 world properties such as Yahoo! Finance, a popular Web site that provides the full spectrum of financial services and information.

PLATFORMS: Hardware: Various Intel-based single and dual-CPU servers. O/S: FreeBSD and Linux, synchronized using MySQL replication.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to switching to MySQL in 2000, Yahoo! Finance managed its database needs through homegrown flat files and Berkeley DB databases. However, those solutions proved to be inflexible and not scalable enough for our needs, with the volume of data nearly doubling every few months. Our needs vary considerably, and that is one reason that MySQL works well with us. Not only is MySQL more flexible, it is also a lot faster.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Yahoo! uses the MySQL database to power many of the services on Yahoo! Finance. MySQL is behind Yahoo! Finance's high-traffic area of news headlines, which is aggregated from more than 100 sources worldwide, as well as its stock charts, insider trading, SEC filings, conference calls and earnings reports, among others. MySQL features such as replication and the ready-to-use APIs and libraries have also helped us manage Yahoo! Finance's demanding applications smoothly. With the integration of InnoDB into MySQL, Yahoo! is building some of its next-generation applications to take advantage of MySQL's transactions, row-level locking and referential integrity.

STRENGTHS: MySQL is cost-effective, easy to use and reliable. One doesn't need weeks of expensive training and a shelf full of manuals to make it work well. The MySQL support is truly outstanding.

WEAKNESSES: MySQL's biggest weakness is the perception that it is just a "toy" database that is not well suited to real- world applications. The truth is that when you understand what MySQL has to offer, you can build some very powerful applications.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed a solution that was fast, reliable and easy to use. We did not have the luxury of spending weeks of time comparing various products and solutions. From day one, MySQL met our needs and continues to do so.

DELIVERABLES: MySQL helps us deliver an up-to-date and lightning-fast Web site. It handles the high-volume, 280 million record tables just as well as the small, low-volume ones. One of our servers handled more than a quarter of a billion queries in a month and a half, and it still has capacity to spare.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Customer support is one of the key strengths of MySQL AB. The original creators of the MySQL database are still heavily involved in support, providing excellent expertise and insight to help MySQL customers. They really understand the type of environment we're working in and do a great job of supporting it.

DOCUMENTATION: The MySQL documentation is quite good, and there are also many MySQL discussion lists that reach MySQL's huge user base. It is easy to tap into these discussions for specific MySQL questions. Beyond that, there are numerous very good MySQL books appearing on the market.

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