Everything You Need to Know About Scaling MySQL – Part 4: Facebook and Google’s Difficulties with MySQL

As we discussed last time, the vast majority of databases are SQL-based, and many of those are running MySQL. Which works fine, until you need to scale-up your database, and then MySQL hits some difficulties.

Two of the country’s biggest tech juggernauts—Google and Facebook—have already woken up to the fact that the glory days of MySQL have come and gone.

Ostensibly sick of non-ACID-compliant and non-relational systems, Google built its own database architecture. We can imagine the price tag attached to the project. The “F1” system, as it’s called, sits in the center of the AdWords platform, and it can process hundreds of thousands of requests per second. Google says the F1 runs SQL queries across tens of trillions of rows of data every day.

While Facebook didn’t reinvent the wheel the same way Google did, the company invested millions of dollars on advanced automation tools that essentially allow its database system—which consists of thousands of sharded servers spread out across multiple continents—to run on its own. Because sharded databases lack relational functionality, they require a lot more attention to operate, particularly when applications or servers fail. In other words, Facebook originally chose sharding to scale before subsequently realizing its limitations. But the social networking company was able to bail itself out thanks to its seemingly endless resources.

Most businesses don’t have the resources that Google and Facebook do to solve their problems on their own. But thanks to breakthroughs in database technology, that’s not necessarily a problem.

As Americans increasingly take to the Web—believe it or not, we already spend more time accessing the Web via mobile apps than through traditional desktop browsers—you can reasonably expect your site to get more traffic.

Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before e-commerce websites that run MySQL will reach their capacity. When this happens, your customers will almost certainly get frustrated as the user experience diminishes thanks to a malfunctioning website.

The good news is that by being proactive and taking the steps to modernize your technological infrastructure with a NewSQL-powered database, you will avoid reaching your database’s threshold. Instead, you’ll be able to seamlessly absorb all the traffic that comes your way. And your bottom line will grow as a result.