MySQL has had basic support for Geospatial Data since 4.1, but has lacked some of the features of the OpenGIS specifications since then. The good news is, this is rapidly changing. Our own Holyfoot has been hammering away at WorkLog #1327, to provide precise functions for our GIS support.
Even better, it’s fast. How fast? Well, the good people at Oki Labs, apart from having implemented several new GIS functions for MySQL, have done some benchmarking, and it’s looking good. If you’ll excuse the cliched comparison to Postgres, here are the response times (seconds) of MySQL GIS vs. PostGIS in Oki’s test: