Log Buffer #23: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Dec 15, 2006 / By David Edwards

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Welcome, reader, to the 23rd edition of Log Buffer, the weekly, human-edited review of the database blogosphere. No time to waste, so let’s start with some announcements.

Xaprb, the producer of innotop, brings to our attention the latest release of mysqlreport, “one of (his) favorite tools for quickly comprehending the overall state of a MySQL server. The new version prints out the most important information about InnoDB.”

Jay Pipes (whom I always want to call “J-Pipes”) announces that he will be speaking at the php|tek conference in the spring. (php|tek describes itself as, “three days of incredible PHP learning and fun,” which makes it sound like a kind of PHP Woodstock.)

Likewise, Mike Kruckenberg makes known his spring appearance at the 2007 MySQL Users Conference.

While we’re on conferences, Pete Finnigan, on his Oracle Securiy Weblog, has made available his UKOUG 2006 Oracle Security Masterclass presentation.

Mike K. has also posted his thoughts on the MySQL Enterprise/Community split. “The Community Server raises the most questions for me. In the beginning it is the same as the enterprise edition, the fork in the code doesn’t do more than make them separate development trunks (if that is how they are going to be split). Over time I don’t know where the community edition will go. … Yes, it starts with the same code base, but the processes that move it forward are new and being developed. That raises a lot of questions for me.” He follows with ten specific questions. Let’s see if some answers follow in the comments.

One of the comments there happens to mention the story run on Slashdot concerning MySQL AB’s dropping support for Debian Gnu/Linux. Brian “Krow” Aker was all over that on his Idle Thoughts blog. According to him, “We messed up some internal communication in MySQL and someone in Sales was left with the wrong information. … The fact is though that we support it, and we are going to continue to support it.” Elliot Murphy weighs in with his idea of the secret measure of how well an OS is supported.

Kaj Arnö announces that MySQL 4.0 has reached the final stage of its lifecycle. No word yet on a memorial service, but your cards and letters will be appreciated.

Zack Urlocker of TheOpenForce.com posts a reminder of the MySQL User Survey, this time with the carrot of a pass to the MySQL 2007 Conference.

The Informix Zone also has some survey news — the results of a survey on Informix Uptime. Survey says! “(there) is no other data server around that outperforms IDS in terms of Scalability, Reliability and Administrability.”

Also from the IBM-ish part of the DBMS world, Susan Visser has published a helpful list of DB2 books, certifications, tutorials, and more on Build your Skill on DB2.

Asking a lot of questions is a part of building your skill with anything. Knowing how to ask them is important too. On News, views, tips and tricks on Oracle…, Eddie Awad describes an encounter with a question badly asked, and prescribes a couple links on the matter. This has come up before on Log Buffer (back in LB#1), but it’s a subject that deserves occasional restating.

On An Expert’s Guide to DB2 Technology, Chris Eaton posts that changes to daylight savings time in 2007 may affect your databases (DB2, Oracle and others): “In the United States the start and end of daylight savings times are being changed in 2007. Daylight savings time will now start on March 11, 2007 (rather than early April) and will end on November 4, 2007 (rather than late October). Canada has also decided to follow the same schedule. This may impact your databases so read on.”

On the Database Underground, Sean McCown has a beef with Microsoft about its attitude toward DBAs, and he has a couple items about this. In the first, he suggests that MS likes to curry favour with developers, but neglects DBAs, and in fact cannot properly distinguish between the two. Apparently, MS (“the Sleeping Giant”) got wind of this and wants to parley with Sean.

Pythian’s own Raj Thukral has a bone to pick with Oracle, about the pitfalls of Oracle’s automatic SGA management. (Maybe he’s really just worried for his job!) Paul Vallee also linked to a presentation from eBay on their possibly unorthodox approach to stability, agility, scalability, and cost.

In other gripe news, Bruce Armstrong of TeamSybase blogs proposes to Sybase, no more 80% solutions. He has some suggestions that he thinks offer a better way forward for Sybase and its products, such as, “change… the way that the initial development and testing of new features is managed, to ensure that the testing that is done more adequately resembles ‘real-world’ application development.”

On OptimalDBA, Daniel Fink reports on a problem with Oracle’s statspack. “(A) specific sql statement is not guaranteed to be present at any snapshot, even if it was a major resource consumer during the timeframe between snapshots. If it was parsed or flushed from the cache during the timeframe, it will not be reported, regardless of the impact on the system resource.” The comments shed some light.

On Igor’s Oracle Lab, Gary Myers has been contemplating nothingness. NULL is his middle name, and that fact has given him an acute outlook on the subject of NULL values. Andrew Clarke of Radio Free Tooting must have been in a similarly monkish frame of mind, so he wrote a response to Gary’s post. Interesting and subtle stuff that all DBAs need to consider.

Jeff Clement reports on his first experiences with the Firebird 2.0 RDBMs, “the open source off-shoot of Borland’s once popular Interbase.” He likes what he sees so far, and promises more reports on this darkhorse.

Here are Stewart Smith’s Ramblings on how restarts are for wusses (his words). Specifically he says, “I think configuration files are obsolete. Okay, maybe just for databases. Everything should be changable as an online operation. This should also be able to be done via a standard interface – in our case, SQL.”

Finally, Steve Karam, the Oracle Alchemist, has adapted another classic song for the amusement of DBAs. This time, it’s the evergreen Hotel California as “The Life of DB Admins”.

That’s all for this edition. See you in seven days!

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