MySQL has introduced a new automation service that could help enterprises cut administration costs.

The service, called MySQL Enterprise, sits against a background of booming demand for relational database management systems (RDBMS), and specifically a growing share of the market for open source -atabases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. MySQL made the announcement in London at a customer conference.

MySQL Enterprise will assist with the typical daily tasks of a database administrator, such as performance and tuning, troubleshooting, security planning, upgrades, patch installation, migration and scripting, MySQL said. It's available in four tiers for businesses of different sizes, with the most complete version, Platinum, offering server software, monitoring and advisory services and production support.

The software offering includes updates and service packs. New offering "network monitoring and advisory services" monitors database servers, alerting administrators to potential problems and helps solve them via a customisable, rules-based advisor, for which MySQL is promising more rules in the future. The support offering includes access to an online knowledge ase as well as telephone and Web support.

The system is available on 11 platforms, including Red Hat, Suse, Windows, Solaris, HP-UX and Mac OS X, for between €495 and €3995 euros (£330 to $£2,680) per database server. The software and support components are available now, with monitoring and advisory services arriving by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, IDC and Gartner said open source databases may pose the strongest threat to the dominance of Oracle, though they make up a small proportion of the market to date. Open source databases rank behind Oracle, IBM and Microsoft in market share, according to IDC, but analysts say open source is popular with younger developers and is likely to gain share quickly.