I have recently starting working as one of the system administrators for my new company, and we have been having some serious load issues. Here is the high level overview of how we're configured:

1 Dedicated Server running MySQL 4.1 (shared database)
3 Apache 2 Web servers on same local network

These are all in the same physical location, and i think on the same rack, so all traffic between them is pretty fast.

My supervisor has suggested switching to an "enterprise" product like Oracle to help cope with the problem, but I would really prefer to replicate the MySQL server and run them locally on each machine. I could theoretically continue to use the current server as the master, and each web server could be a slave machine.

There are several parts to my question:

1) Does this even make sense to do?
2) I've never tried MySQL replication, is it reliable?
3) In your opinion, would this be the most logical way to achieve my goals?

Other than my inherent bias to MySQL, all our of webapps are developed with MySQL in mind, and although I think Oracle is a wonderful product, I haven't worked with it in several years, and would probably take a while to get back up to speed.

Lastly, i'm sorry if this question has been asked before/every day, or something similar to it, but this is my first post at dBforums, and I haven't had a chance to find out where all the information here is.

Thanks in advance.