My question is probably fairly common, but I wanted to ask it anyway.

When choosing a database type for large scale application (social networking, for example), is MySQL able to handle it? I mean, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users...

If not, I can't imagine that everyone would be using Microsoft Servers and SQL. What would be the suitable alternates?

  • 2
    If you are able to create a system which is too large or busy for MySQL to handle please let us know. :) Apr 26 '11 at 3:35

Facebook uses MySql. See this video, a presentation by Facebook devs, on how they do it http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2010/11/facebook-mysql-scale.php

  • Wow... that's the answer I was looking for. Why I am surprised that FB is using MySQL?
    – dcolumbus
    Apr 26 '11 at 1:22
  • Well, somewhat, facebook also uses Cassandra for its messaging system.
    – Ben
    Apr 26 '11 at 1:47

this is a list of a few big fishes that use MySQL:

United Nations
Mc Graw Hill

I hope this could help you to clear your mind ;)

  • I thought YouTube was backed by Google's BigTable. Are you sure its MySQL?
    – TheLQ
    Apr 30 '11 at 13:17

Yes. Scalability is not one of the problems with MySQL.

  • "not one of the problems with MySQL" ... does that mean that there are other glaring issues with MySQL that I should know about?
    – dcolumbus
    Apr 26 '11 at 1:05
  • 2
    @dcolumbus: As with absolutely every technology, it has it's drawbacks.
    – Trufa
    Apr 26 '11 at 1:57
  • @dcolumbus See this old list of "gotchas" or this gotcha. I personally prefer PostgreSQL, but to it (of course) has its own tradeoffs. Here's a small comparison.
    – Phrogz
    Apr 26 '11 at 2:08
  • @dcolumbus: what Trufa said. Even the best piece of technology in the world will have a downside. You have to balance the pluses and minuses of every item in your software stack when deciding on them.
    – Rob Moir
    Apr 26 '11 at 7:30

Yes it is. MySQL on proper hardware and good configuration can handle 1000s of writes per second and reads can scale out into 10's of thousands per second across replicated slaves

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