Senior Brightmail Development Manager, Symantec
"We want our users to have virtually no database administrative tasks or costs. With MySQL, we've been able to achieve that."
Senior Brightmail Development Manager, Symantec
Symantec is one of the largest software companies in the world and a global leader in providing security, storage, and systems management solutions that help organizations - from the very largest to the smallest - secure and manage their information. Symantec's software and services provide complete and efficient protection against risks at more points, providing their customers with the assurance that their information is safe, wherever it is used or stored.
Symantec's Brightmail family of products provide antispam and antivirus capabilities to the largest service providers the world over, as well as content filtering, antispam, antivirus and data loss prevention solutions to small and medium business enterprises and Global 1000 organizations.
The Database Challenge
To meet their customers' requests for better configuration and management, the Brightmail product team added a Web-based management system to monitor and configure Brighmail's filtering engines. This required a database back-end that could continuously gather log information, message statistics, and messages from the filtering engines, and also store their configuration data.
The database had to be easy to use, with zero administration for mid-sized businesses that can't afford to manage another database in their enterprise, but also scalable and sophisticated enough meet the demands of the largest enterprises and service providers, with up to hundreds of thousands of end-users. In addition, the database had to efficiently manage extremely large data volumes as the database tables would record the disposition of each message through the software.
Selection Process and Criteria
"We looked at the leading commercial and open source databases and evaluated them primarily on their ease of installation, use, and maintenance, as well as their costs up front and over time. We found that MySQL was the best in terms of both the price point and the functionality it offered us," said Paul Stephens, Senior Development Manager of Symantec's Brightmail Product Line.
"It was critical that the database have a Java connector for JDBC, tools for viewing tables and analyzing queries, excellent resources, and functionality that was continuously evolving. MySQL had all of those."
The Benefits of Using MySQL
After using MySQL as Brightmail's database for a number of years, the Brightmail product team has had opportunity to thoroughly evaluate MySQL.
"The benefits that MySQL brings to the Brightmail product are its rock-solid quality and performance - its reliability, its robustness, and its very low administrative cost," said Paul, adding the following points as illustration.
- Reliability and Robustness "Over the years that we've been using MySQL with Brightmail, we have not had any customer escalations in which the MySQL database has been the issue."
- Low Administrative Costs "Typically we deploy our solution as an embedded system on a single box. We want our users to have virtually no database administrative tasks or costs. With MySQL, we've been able to achieve that."
- Performance "We have been using some of the tools like the MySQL Enterprise Monitor's Query Analyzer to tune our SQL queries to find bottle necks or other possible performance problems with our queries and have achieved significant performance gains."
The Symantec team has found the following MySQL features particularly valuable in the Brightmail products:
- DELETE QUICK to help avoid the overhead of data leftover from merging indexes when deleting very large tables.
- OPTIMIZE TABLE to reclaim the space freed up by using DELETE QUICK.
- INSERT ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE to insert a number of records into various tables using a single SQL command.
- MEMORY STORAGE ENGINE is used with Brightmail's reporting tables that contain very large amounts of data to retain key data in memory for fastest access before it is flushed to disc at set intervals.
MySQL Professional Services Results in Happier Customers
The Brightmail product team engaged MySQL Professional Services with excellent results. "The company's products had grown significantly and databases had become very large," said Paul. "We wanted someone to and look over our database and queries to make sure we were leveraging MySQL to the best of its ability for our product needs. The end result was well tuned complex queries and better performance which in the end resulted in happier customers."
MySQL's Value to Symantec
Paul concluded by saying, "A system can never be too secure, it can never be too reliable, and especially, it can never be too simple to manage. People want very simple configuration and simple management. Symantec with MySQL was a natural combination to provide those things and meet those needs."