Mysql is a versatile database server. As many other open source projects, it comes in various flavors. Each flavor has its own peculiarity: let’s do an overlook and take them for a run to validate (or invalidate) their claims on perfomance.
Did you ever have to send raw data through a web service? High level, string-oriented abstractions sometimes are resistant to binary data. SOAP web services are particularly sensitive in this case. This battle has its pitfalls, but with a little help it can be won flawlessly and elegantly at the same time.