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Looking for MySQL 4.0 Support post EOL ?

 | December 14, 2008 |  Posted In: Events and Announcements


As Giuseppe just reminded MySQL 4.0 is reaching its end of life in about 2 weeks from now. When it becomes unsupported by MySQL via normal support agreements together with 3.23 version.

At Percona we do not have such restriction and we will continue to support your environment even if you’re still on MySQL 4 or 3.23 (we indeed do have customers which are still using 3.23 now)

What does it mean for you in practice ? This means we will continue helping you with issues you’re having with MySQL 3.23 or 4.0 and will be happy to backport bug fixes to MySQL 3.23 and 4.0

Supporting MySQL 3.23 and MySQL 4.0 environment is indeed more expensive than current MySQL versions because we can’t relay on Sun/MySQL doing any work with bug fixes plus more work is often needed because these versions have lower transparency than later versions. It also often takes more time to do things because we have to have an extra care to remember all limitations of these versions correctly. For example remember to use set-variable in MySQL 3.23 or remembering all optimizer issues which were fixed more recently.

It costs more to support environments based on 3.23 and 4.0 these days so we would typically recommend to upgrade, however if it is not instantly possible we continue to do support your envinronment. With our simple pricing model of “you pay for consultants true time” we can naturally afford to do it.

Peter Zaitsev

Peter managed the High Performance Group within MySQL until 2006, when he founded Percona. Peter has a Master's Degree in Computer Science and is an expert in database kernels, computer hardware, and application scaling.


  • Like Percona, Sun/MySQL does offer support for EOL versions:


    “Customers with support needs beyond the Extended Lifecycle timeframe can negotiate custom agreements. Please contact the MySQL Sales Team at http://www.mysql.com/buy-mysql/”

    If you are going to make blanket statements you should at least be correct. It is unsupported by the regular contracts, but you can get a custom contract. This is likely due to the fact that they don’t have lots of support folks and would need to reserve the time of someone who specifically knows about the EOL’d versions. Similar to Percona — they have to develop custom solutions, because even they can’t change the releases.

  • Thanks Sheeri,

    I have added correction to original statement. My main point is Percona simply does not have such restriction. It is also question about practice not theory. In theory you could also make MySQL to implement certain functionality you need in MySQL on consulting basics, in practice I rarely see it happening during last few years. Even Google patches when there was both desire to see certain features and code already provided take years to be merged.

    The question with support is not about number of folks but about pricing model. If you charge fixed fee per server you can’t simply deal with niche cases. Imagine for example there is only one customer in the world remains using MySQL 3.23 and you need to fix possibly expensive bugs just for him. But interesting enough at the same time many users who are still on 3.23 and 4.0 run these old MySQL versions in old, long unchanged environments which have most of affected bugs worked out already.

    So the point is simple – if you have an issue about MySQL 3.23 we will be happy to assist with it at the same rates and conditions (just 15 min increments an no strings attached) as if it is about MySQL version 5.1 🙂

  • Right, but you charge by the hour. MySQL has a support package, which may include hours, but also includes things like “unlimited support incidents” which aren’t really appropriate for EOL versions.

    Pythian does the same thing — if you want us to work on MySQL 5.1, 5.0, 4.1, 4.0, 3.23, or wash your windows, an hour is an hour.

  • Sheeri,

    This is exactly the point. I think “Unlimited Support” is the trap. You can compare it to “All you can Eat” restaurant. You need plenty of people for the same dish to make it work, and also you can’t serve all food this way. The hour is an hour is free from certain problems, though I understand it may be harder for some people from budget planning purposes.

  • Sheeri: … ‘includes things like “unlimited support incidents” which aren’t really appropriate for EOL versions.’

    Why is unlimited support not appropriate for EOL versions?

    It’s a rhetorical question. Of course I understand why not.

    But the point is, it’s the wrong question to ask. We need to be asking what’s wrong with unlimited support. As Peter said, it’s the way the service is being packaged and sold that’s the problem, not the EOL version itself. We think there is no GOOD reason to cut off support for old versions. If customers have a reasonable need, we’re willing to help them. “I have over seven thousand servers running 3.23 so I cannot just upgrade” is more than a reasonable need. Would we turn that customer away? No, we would not, and that is why it’s our customer now. Cutting off support is not good for customers. And we are in business to serve customers, first and foremost.

  • Right, except the way it’s phrased in the original blog post, it sounds like “MySQL won’t help you if you’re not running the latest version”, which is blatently untrue. They may not have the best business model, it needs some tweaking to cover all cases, but to me the post just seemed to be a little…grabby. It seemed to be saying “MySQL isn’t supporting this any more, but WE AT PERCONA ARE!” When really, EOL does not mean MySQL does not support customers running those releases. It actually has more to do with the community at large that aren’t paying customers.

  • Sheeri is correct, this is more about making builds for the wider community. You *can* request support for EOL versions, it’s just a custom contract, and not part of “MySQL Enterprise” on the whole. And then, when you’ve gotten this in place, it’s again unlimited on number of incidents for the period of the contract.

    MySQL Support has many people intimately familiar with versions as far back as 3.23, and certainly 4.0 (one of the core developers of that version, in fact).

    “Would we turn that customer away? No, we would not, and that is why it’s our customer now.” is just … petty. Neither would we, should people approach us to support them under a custom contract. And guess what, people are doing that, and will be, and are, our customers now. Woo us.

    More FUD.

    And hey, here’s a reality call, how many people really need support for these versions anyway? In reality, these systems have been bedded in for *years*, all bugs are well known and people are not shouting for fixes. They’re already configured, already running along sweetly, there really is *very very little* call for support on these versions. We know from a much wider experience/customer base analysis..

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