Thoughts on DB2 as a MySQL storage engine

26 April 2007 » DB2, IBM, MySQL, PHP

IBM and MySQL have announced plans to port MySQL to IBM’s mid-range i5/OS servers.

Taking it one step further, DB2 will also be available as a storage engine behind a MySQL front end, just as the popular MyISAM and InnoDB table types are today.

The technology is still off in the future, and even then has only been announced for System i, but it opens the door to some interesting possibilities.

I don’t work for the group at IBM responsible for this technology, nor do I know what their detailed plans are, but here’s how I see the potential behind this collaboration.

You’ll be able to…

  • Run MySQL natively on i5/OS
    Can’t say I’ve ever built an application consisting wholly of the MySQL Server, but this is the foundation that makes everything else possible.

  • Run third-party applications built for MySQL and PHP on System i without modification
    Paired with strong PHP support, the entire ecosystem of third-party apps would now be available on this platform and none the wiser to their environment.

  • Enable existing data stored in DB2 to be accessed through MySQL
    Imagine you’re using a scripting language or application framework that has a MySQL driver, but a driver for DB2 is incomplete, unstable, or simply doesn’t exist. MySQL could be the glue.

  • Use MySQL itself as a de facto database abstraction layer
    MySQL is a relatively small download. What if instead of writing database-agnostic SQL or working through a PHP-based or C-based abstraction layer you could use the database server itself to translate your calls, and simply program to the mysqli_* API?

  • Manage access levels and tweak performance based on user type
    If you store your data in a DB2 storage engine, and provide access to it to two separate user communities; read-only Web visitors through the MySQL Server and read/write internal content editors through the standard DB2 clients, you’ve given yourself more flexibility to manage privileges, caching, and performance settings.

It seems there will be a lot of intriguing options available to developers as this cooperation between IBM and MySQL evolves. These are just some of my first thoughts on what might be possible.

I’d love to find out more from the folks working to make this happen, and hear what else might be possible from other developers in the community at large.


8 Responses to 'Thoughts on DB2 as a MySQL storage engine'

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  1. 22 August 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Not to mention the result in database management simplification: all i5/OS data file commands can be used to maintain the data files of the MySQL databases:
    Performance analysis of the SQL Plan Cache
    Backup/restore capabilities of System i
    Object integrity robustness of System i

    long live

  2. Brian said,

    12 October 2007 at 10:21 am

    I have not heard anything more about this and IBM is not listed on MySQL’s storage engine site. Has this become a “no-go?”

  3. Daniel Krook said,

    16 October 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Brian,

    The original press releases were pretty vague about a release date, but I’m certain about it being a go. IBM is very eager to support the AMP stack on System i.

  4. tony said,

    12 December 2007 at 6:50 pm

    I just attended a mysql webinar on this. It had speakers representing zend ibm and mysql. You can download it from mysql’s website.

  5. Al said,

    14 December 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Where is on mysql web site.
    Can you provide a link ?

  6. Daniel Krook said,

    14 December 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Tony and Al,

    Looks like there is a new Redbook to be published on the topic. Watch this space: Discovering MySQL on i5/OS.

  7. Sam said,

    12 February 2008 at 12:15 pm

    This was an interesting article.
    Can you pls help me knowing how to plug in DB2/400 as the storage engine for MySQL?


  8. 19 March 2008 at 5:45 pm

    You can plug in DB2/400 as a storage engine for MySQL using a commercial package from

    IBM has not yet announced the release of a storage engine (yet?)… notive that in the redbook there is an explicit warning that IBM may withdraw their announcements without notification.


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