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What is Percona?

How does it differ from MySQL?

When should we consider switching (or upgrading) from stock MySQL to Percona?

To add some specifics in our situation we almost exclusively use InnoDB (which I understand Percona has done a lot of optimizing for) with extensive foreign key constraints and a few stored procedures.

What we are finding at present is that MySQL is poorly optimizing our queries and so any query that goes above 3-4 joins we have to build explicitly with STRAIGHT joins to improve performance.

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Just a clarification - Percona is a MySQL consulting/development company. Percona Server is one of many products made by the company Percona. – Aaron Brown Mar 27 '12 at 20:09
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Percona Server is a fork of MySQL that came into being about 7 years ago. The Percona employees are mostly former MySQL people. They care about InnoDB performance so much that they inject 30,000 lines of code into its version of MySQL to make those enhancements possible. They have been doing this since MySQL 5.0 and are still at it today.

MySQL (eh Oracle [still hate saying it]) has been trying to keep up with it Percona via its InnoDB plugin (since MySQL 5.1.38, now fully native in MySQL 5.5)

Percona once did an aggressive comparison of MySQL versions. In most cases LEFT UNCONFIGURED, older versions of MySQL outperform newer versions. You must tune MySQL to get the most of it. Switching to Percona may not get enhancements you are looking for. Even with Percona, you must find out what performance enhancements come out-of-the-box and what is settings you need to configure otherwise.

Other posts I hope you find helpful

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Perhaps you can add MariaDB as another option. The recent 5.3 release has a lot of performance improvements (of the optimizer). – ypercubeᵀᴹ Mar 27 '12 at 1:00
@ypercube I guess someone should sponsor a bake-off every business quarter to see how MySQL, Percona Server, and MariaDB stack up against each other and against prior releases ( – RolandoMySQLDBA Mar 27 '12 at 1:17

As well as RolandoMySQLDBA's answer, my observation is that Percona offers features that

  • come only with "paid for" stock mySQL
  • make it more that a "grown up" RDBMS


Assuming like for like performance, the extra kit from Percona makes MySQL far more viable

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