In this recent blogpost from Oracle related to MySQL versions and releases, the concept of the “Innovation” release was first announced. This led our Support, QA and Engineering team into a round of discussions on how best we should approach the certification and support of MySQL with our own Continuent Tungsten products, Tungsten Clustering and Tungsten Replicator.
In this blog post, we will outline (and explain) our decision and what this means for our customers.
The MySQL “Innovation” Release
Firstly, we should point out that the information in this blog post ONLY applies to MySQL from Oracle. At the time of writing, it does not impact the ongoing support of either the Percona Server release or of MariaDB.
Traditionally, Oracle (MySQL) would distribute a major version release, the most recent being v8.0. Over the course of its life, many patch releases would drop - the latest at time of writing, being 8.0.34, and then eventually we may end up with another major release - maybe it would have been v8.1 or v9.
As well as the usual plethora of bug fixes, rightly or wrongly (I’ll let you decide) these patch releases would also often include new features or behavior changes, which, if installed blindly, could result in instability and unexpected behavior. Oracle is now moving to a more sensible approach, and along with it, the idea of “Innovation” releases.
I won’t go into too much detail as that has been done for me in the blog post I linked to at the beginning, but in summary, the next release, 8.1, and the subsequent 8.2, 8.3 etc. will now be known as “Innovation” releases, that will not only contain bug fixes but also new features, behavior changes and deprecations. Oracle themselves do not advise the use of these releases in a production environment where known behavior and stability is key - which seems perfectly sensible to me!
Eventually (approximately every 2 years according to the blog), an “Innovation” release will be marked as an LTS release, or Long-Term Support. These are considered production-ready, and will be a combination of all previous innovation releases containing all the new features and bug fixes and changes.
After careful review of the blog from Oracle and conversations internally between our Support, Engineering and QA teams, we have decided that our Tungsten suite of products will only be certified against LTS releases for use in Production environments. This will allow us to ensure stability within our product and subsequently stability for our customers.
Naturally, behind the scenes we will endeavor to test continuously against the “Innovation” releases as they become available, since doing so will allow us time to ensure the next releases of Tungsten work flawlessly with the new features and changes that will appear with the subsequent LTS release.
If Percona or MariaDB choose to align themselves with the same release model as Oracle, then we will review our position and update our customers accordingly.
If you have any questions or concerns over this, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us via your normal support channels!