April 18, 2019

NuSphere MySQL: Free Beer in a Tall Glass - page 3

Integrated web development in a box.

  • April 16, 2001
  • By Scott Courtney

NuSphere, taken as a company, seems to take the notion of Open Source pretty seriously. Not only is the source code of their MySQL distribution open (as it would need to be to include things like Apache and MySQL), but this company has also contributed to the MySQL software team an important piece of technology (called "Gemini") for transactions and row-level locking. This is evidence of NuSphere's attempt to be a good citizen in the open source community.

The folks at NuSphere have a good idea, and they have in effect done for the middleware tier what Linux distributions have done for the operating system tier. It would be nice to see an integrated Open Source search engine tool, and perhaps a WebDAV-aware HTML editing tool, in a future release. Even without these items, though, NuSphere is useful enough to be worth considering for business oriented server deployments. It is reliable, easy to install, and a genuine improvement over the equivalent component-by-component installation methods. The downside of this business model is that distributions often include many of these same Open Source tools as part of their standard installation, so trying to add NuSphere later may do more harm than good or may not add much value in some situations. In others, especially where the system administrator is new to Linux or UNIX, NuSphere could be a great boost to admin productivity. NuSphere does not relieve the system administrator of the need to think -- it just takes away some of the grunt work.

Overall, I found NuSphere MySQL to work well and to be a useful suite of middleware for Linux server deployment, though its close ties to the Red Hat distribution's quirks impair its ease of use on other systems slightly. Whether or not it is worth its $299 price tag will depend on who is being asked. $299 is a lot to pay for just getting free beer pre-poured into a tall glass, and indeed a Linux wiz who is comfortable compiling large programs from source tarball may not want NuSphere and its fancy browser interfaces getting in the way for a small number of servers. But that same person, confronted with the need to build and manage a couple dozen servers -- some of which are located at the other end of a large building -- might find the remote GUI installation to be extremely valuable. Those who are new to Linux and who need to have a small e-commerce site online quickly will definitely find NuSphere a worthwhile purchase.

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