Software giant Oracle announced Monday the release of an updated version of MySQL. The company said the new release, version 5.7.4, boosts the management capability and performance of the open source database.

The upgraded version of MySQL, a development milestone release, includes improvements in replication, security Relevant Products/Services, and instrumentation that Oracle said results "in significantly higher performance and improved manageability" over the previous version 5.6 that came out in February of last year.

With a higher performing MySQL, data Relevant Products/Services centers might be able to improve their overall costs because they'll require less hardware, and because they can use the open source database for more demanding tasks. Oracle testing indicates the new release can handle 512,000 read-only queries per second, twice that of version 5.6.

Fabric, Workbench

Tomas Ulin, vice president of MySQL Engineering at Oracle, said in a statement that, "By encouraging ongoing community participation and following the 'release early, release often' model, we help shorten the feedback-to-delivery cycle and allow users to get faster access to improved product capabilities and quality."

Improvements include enhanced throughput for solid state disks, higher throughput and better scalability through an improved InnoDB buffer pool, metadata locking, semi-synchronous replication, and performance schema.

Oracle said that optimizer enhancements now provide more accurate calculations in terms of costs, and there have been improvements in the Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit encryption and password management.

Also available is the release candidate (RC) for MySQL Fabric, which is designed to manage a farm of servers running MySQL. The RC, part of MySQL Utililities 1.4.2, offers high availability management with automatic failure detection and scale out through data sharding. In data sharding, a large database is partitioned into smaller, faster ones called shards.

Also out is MySQL Workbench 6.1, which offers more functionality for performance assessment and query optimization. Workbench is a unified visual tool that provides features for server configuration and other administration. It now offers a new performance dashboard, reports, and a new schema called "SYS" that provides simplified views on MySQL performance schema, information schema and other areas. The newest Workbench can reduce database total cost of ownership by as much as 90 percent, according to Oracle.

Why Oracle?

Features that are in development are also included in a preview. These include the Geographic Information System, improvements in multi-sourcing, and MySQL Cluster 7.4. Cluster is designed to scale up for intensive workloads, using commodity hardware.

Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other major tech companies recently announced that they have created a new organization, WebScaleSQL, to better enable MySQL for scaling up to handle large-scale deployments.

We asked Al Hilwa, program director for application development at industry research firm IDC, why database vendor Oracle would be so interested in supporting an open source database like MySQL.

He said that "people who are going to use open source will use it no matter what," but Oracle gains "because it's a goodwill gesture to the database community, and because it is a lead-in to higher end sales," where companies using MySQL might decide to scale up to Oracle's commercial line.

The other thing, Hilwa noted, is the cloud Relevant Products/Services factor, where "the focus is less on who owns the intellectual property and more on which data center services you use." By being central to MySQL development, he said, Oracle is positioning itself for related cloud services.