Using MySQL for Business Intelligence (MySQL BI)

MySQL is particularly powerful when it comes to Web applications, but companies are putting the open source database to plenty of other uses as well. Take, for example, the Los Angeles, California-based global online ad sales firm Gorilla Nation Media.

Gorilla Nation relied on MySQL to power its advertising network business intelligence platform.

MySQL Business Intelligence

Gorilla Nation, part of Evolve Media, provides integrated media and promotional programs to Fortune 500 brand advertisers, including clients such as Fox Television, Best Buy, and more. Its customers demand advanced business intelligence (BI) and targeting methods to reach the perfect online audience for their advertising or brand campaigns. Reaching more than 66 million unique visitors per month— as Gorilla Nation does— requires Websites and an infrastructure that can scale effectively and efficiently.

That’s why Gorilla Nation chose MySQL as the foundation of its BI platform. The organization has more than 500 servers running MySQL, 20 of which are replicated. Its sites get approximately a quarter-billion page views per month, and MySQL manages more than 1TB of data for Gorilla Nation while providing near-real-time traffic and advertising campaign performance information to Gorilla Nation’s publishers and advertisers. In addition, Gorilla Nation uses MySQL to capture all the clickstream data and transactions required for back-office accounting and billing functions.

“One of the great beauties of MySQL BI is that it’s backed by an amazing company like Oracle, which has deep pockets and basically wrote the book on databases, ” says Veronika Burnett, manager of database engineering at Gorilla Nation. “Also, unlike other open source databases, MySQLis highly scalable. That allows us to do things in our business that are absolutely critical, such as having the same database running on multiple physical servers in multiple geographic regions and having near-real-time replication. ”

Burnett says Gorilla Nation also benefits from MySQL’s management features. “MySQL’s enterprise manager tool allows us to track performance on hundreds of MySQL servers from a single console, which allows one database engineer to be extremely efficient and effective, ” she says.

Like other fast-growing companies, Gorilla Nation has to balance the trade-offs between creating an enterprise-class infrastructure to support customer needs reliably and efficiently with the need to scale up quickly, dynamically, and in a cost-effective manner. At the same time, Gorilla Nation needs to keep its eye on the bottom line and avoid large up-front licensing investments. That’s why MySQL has turned out to be such a good choice for Gorilla Nation, according to Godelman. “All our technical and business requirements were satisfied and exceeded by MySQL, ” says Godelman.

While MySQL continues to power a great many Websites and applications, it’s likely that more and more organizations will deploy MySQL for a wide range of departmental, transactional, and Bl-oriented needs as well.

“MySQL is a popular product, and I think its importance is increasing because we’re starting to see all the different ways it’s being used, ” says IDC’s Olofson. “It’s also an avenue through which database technologists can experiment, try out things, and distribute them easily because MySQL is so readily available and widespread. ”

By David Kelly, a business, technology, and travel writer who lives in West Newton, Massachusetts.