The MySQL relational database server was born almost 22 years ago out of an internal company project by employees of a Swedish software company. Their project, dubbed MySQL, was first released to the general public at the end of 1996. The software proved so popular that in 2001 they founded a new company based entirely around MySQL-specific service and product offerings. Over the course of the ensuing decade, MySQL's rate of adoption among educational institutions, government entities, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies was such that the company behind MySQL was in 2008 purchased by Sun Microsystems for almost $1 billion, which was in turn purchased by Oracle Corporation in early 2009. That's a pretty astounding success story! So, what exactly is it about MySQL that makes the product so attractive?