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 7.1.3 What We Have Used MySQL For
 This section describes an early application for MySQL.
 During MySQL initial development, the features of MySQL were made to
 fit our largest customer, which handled data warehousing for a couple
 of the largest retailers in Sweden.
 From all stores, we got weekly summaries of all bonus card transactions,
 and were expected to provide useful information for the store owners to
 help them find how their advertising campaigns were affecting their own
 The volume of data was quite huge (about seven million summary
 transactions per month), and we had data for 4-10 years that we needed
 to present to the users.  We got weekly requests from our customers,
 who wanted to get "instant" access to new reports from this data.
 We solved this problem by storing all information per month in
 compressed "transaction" tables. We had a set of simple macros that
 generated summary tables grouped by different criteria (product group,
 customer id, store, and so on) from the tables in which the transactions
 were stored.  The reports were Web pages that were dynamically generated
 by a small Perl script. This script parsed a Web page, executed the SQL
 statements in it, and inserted the results. We would have used PHP or
 mod_perl instead, but they were not available at the time.
 For graphical data, we wrote a simple tool in C that could process SQL
 query results and produce GIF images based on those results.  This tool
 also was dynamically executed from the Perl script that parses the Web
 In most cases, a new report could be created simply by copying an
 existing script and modifying the SQL query in it.  In some cases, we
 needed to add more columns to an existing summary table or generate a
 new one.  This also was quite simple because we kept all
 transaction-storage tables on disk.  (This amounted to about 50GB of
 transaction tables and 200GB of other customer data.)
 We also let our customers access the summary tables directly with ODBC
 so that the advanced users could experiment with the data themselves.
 This system worked well and we had no problems handling the data with
 quite modest Sun Ultra SPARCstation hardware (2x200MHz). Eventually the
 system was migrated to Linux.
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