The Use of MySQL in the Scientific Community

The Use of MySQL in the Scientific Community

Author: Robert Agar

MySQL is an extremely popular relational database management system (RDBMS) that is used in many different sectors of business and industry. It is an appealing database solution for many reasons. Among the most common factors given for its adoption in various settings are:

  • The low total cost of ownership;
  • Open-source flexibility;
  • Security and scalability;
  • High-performance and reliability;
  • Streamlined installation and administration.

All of these features make MySQL a logical source for use in the scientific community. The technical and financial advantages of using MySQL are in line with the needs of scientific research and the budget constraints that often impact purchasing decisions.

We are going to look at some MySQL implementations that are currently being used for scientific research or information dissemination. They are providing some of the tools that scientists need as they investigate various aspects of our complex world.

Examples of MySQL in Action in Science

The various ways that MySQL is used in science is a testament to the diversity of the subjects that attract researchers. Some of these systems have been in place for over a decade, demonstrating the power of the database engine driving the project. Scientists don’t want to waste their time, and if acceptable results were not being obtained, a new solution would be introduced.


Genoscope is the French National Sequencing Center and was founded in 1997. It is one of the largest facilities of its type in Europe and is dedicated to genomic research on various organisms. The system produces complete and partial genome sequences that are used for comparison and analysis by the scientific and medical community.

The choice was made to use MySQL as the database solution for the project for several reasons including ease-of-use, performance, and cross-platform compatibility. The ability to rapidly deploy new applications to satisfy growing and changing requirements was also a major factor in the decision. The computing environment employs over 300 MySQL databases. Over 250 of these systems are devoted to enabling the scientific community to access genomic information using web applications. The other MySQL databases are used for project management and business intelligence.


The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) performs research on fundamental particles and the origins of the universe with cutting-edge scientific instruments. They have chosen to use MySQL to develop a database as a service (DBaaS) solution that empowers scientists and researchers. The platform was selected to minimize the costs and complexity of supporting the expanding IT environment.

A self-service mindset was used when developing the system that allows users to perform MSQL management themselves while administrative tasks such as backups are handled behind the scenes. CERN uses the cloud model to deliver reliable and secure systems to the organization’s scientists while keeping costs under control.


Space exploration in the United States is the responsibility of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The governmental agency makes extensive use of open-source software including MySQL in its website. This informative site makes a wide variety of resources available to scientists, developers, and curious citizens. NASA’s use of MySQL illustrates the power that the database can bring to web-based applications. It offers visitors access to NASA data and the opportunity to use open-source tools developed by the organization’s IT team.

Maintaining MySQL System Performance

SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL is a monitoring tool that can help IT teams keep these science-based databases performing efficiently. It supports MySQL and MariaDB instances hosted in your data center or with cloud providers. The tool ensures that the performance and availability of your MySQL databases are acceptable to all users.

Here are some of the features that SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL provides your database team.

  • Real-time and agentless monitoring displays the status of your systems at all times. Alerts can be set so your DBAs can take corrective action and resolve issues before they affect the user community.

  • Disk space analysis informs you which databases are using storage resources, allowing you to fine-tune available capacity. Quickly locate the databases that are using the majority of disk space.

  • An intuitive web console lets your team examine system configuration and security. Security vulnerabilities are identified and expert recommendations are provided to improve the environment.

  • User management enables limiting the servers and settings available to specific users. This is an important feature to protect systems from accidental misuse when a large and varied user community is involved with differing levels of expertise.

Using SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL will help any database team responsible for a MySQL environment provide top-notch performance and availability. It will help keep even the most diligent researcher satisfied with their systems.