MySQL is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that is available free of charge. It is an open source system based on a client-server model. The name combines "My", the name of the co-founder (Michael Wideniu) and SQL, which stands for structured query language. 

Although some people use the term when talking about RDBMS, it is just a name of a relational database. An RDBMS refers to software or a service that helps develop and manage databases. A database is a system that contains structured data. In a relational database, this means that the data is organised in tables that relate to each other in different ways. 

Structured Query Language (SQL) facilitates communication between client and server. It sends instructions to the server to perform certain actions after receiving data. Depending on the requirements, SQL can perform data manipulation, i.e. change or adjust variables. It can perform data queries, which means that certain information is retrieved from the server database. SQL can also be used to define data, i.e. data identity, and control access to data. 

The language is domain-specific. For this reason, there are other RDBMS brands with "SQL" in the name. Although RDBMS uses a different syntax, SQL is the most common variant. 

How it works

It is about connecting devices (clients) to servers, over a network. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) on the screen of a device allows the client to make a query to which the server responds. The client then displays the response. With the help of certain statements, clients can perform all kinds of queries. The two systems just need to be compatible and the GUI needs to fit. Some options are Navicat DB Admin Tool, SequelPro and DBVisualizer. GUIs vary widely and depend on the user's preferences. The RDBMS was originally intended for small-scale applications, but is now compatible with large platforms such as Microsoft Windows, Linux and macOS. 

In addition to the open source edition, the relational database is also available as a proprietary enterprise server. Although the code is identical, the enterprise server offers numerous other functions that are available as server plug-ins. 

MySQL provides database solutions for some of the largest companies, which is also the reason for its popularity. Google, Facebook and Alcatel Lucent are examples of brands that use RDBMS for data storage to house their high-volume websites. Various database-oriented internet applications such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal also use the RDBMS. The relational database is suitable for small and medium enterprises with only one server. However, scaling may require multiple servers to be deployed.