Log Buffer #7: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Aug 25, 2006 / By David Edwards

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Welcome to the 7th edition of Log Buffer. As always, there’s lots to take in, and in fact, I cut more than I covered this week. Maybe I should make LB a little longer?

To begin, Sheeri Kritzer of My-ess-queue-ell vs. My-see-quell adds her thoughts on the very, very important DBA Day initiative, started by Pythian’s Raj Thukral.

Even more importantly, Sheeri offers her Top 8 SQL Best Practices: “always use explicit joins”; “always define field names”, for example.

However, Lewis R. Cunningham of An Expert’s Guide to Oracle Technology might take issue with some of those, or at least with the way they’re stated. In his piece, Absolutes – Never say never, Never say Always, he asserts that there is no place in database administration for absolutes, for as one of the commenters writes, “Never is always wrong. Always is never right.”

Continuing with our look at the intrinsic issues of DBA, we turn to Chris Foot’s latest instalment of his excellent series The Non-Technical Art of Being a Successful DBA, running on dbazine.com’s blogs. This one deals with Database Recovery Best Practices, focusing specifically on Oracle. His advice stresses ordinary things like practise and planning. Perhaps these things are just as important as your technical qualifications.

Collegiality also counts. On vaporware, inc., Domas Mituzas writes that he finds Flickr DBAs (users of MySQL) high-handed in how they communicate their work. What they do must be part of the DBA repertoire, and he’s curious to learn more about it.

MySQL abandons the the BerkeleyDB engine. This is reported in Blogck out by Peter Laursen, who discovered this in the changelogs of MySQL 5.1.12. He criticizes MySQL for being stealthy about this move. Brian Aker of MySQL AB responds in the comments and again in his blog.

There are many conferences, and it’s nice that some bloggers make it all a little clearer. Lenz Grimmer’s blog has a linked listing of MySQL-related events at EuroOSCON 2006.

Doug Burns of Doug’s Oracle Blog has a sneak preview of the Australian Oracle User Group’s continent-straddling 2006 Conference series, coming in November. That’s early-summer down there, you know. Can you convince your boss to pay for a warm, sunny conference vacation?

Bob Beauchemin’s Blog has some notes on SQL Server stuff at MS’s Tech Ed, taking place in Hong Kong come September.

On Sue’s Blog… again, Sue Harper announces the launch of Oracle’s SQL Developer Exchange, an information hub for users of SQL Developer.

A little site called Slashdot has a review of Pro MySQL, Mike Kruckenberg’s and Jay Pipes’s new book about advanced use of MySQL. Review by Rob Lanphier.

Frank Mash has a post offering info about some DBA job leads. He also wants to hear about other openings and MySQL job resources.

Daniel Schneller’s Blog points to Daniel’s documentation for MySQL Index Analyzer with a request for suggestions.

A survey of alternatives to the PASSWORD function for storing passwords in MySQL is up at Frank Mash’s blog. MySQL provides lots of flexibility here, as Frank shows, and on Ramblings, Stewart Smith expands on this.

Scott Noyes is of a quizzical turn of mind, judging by his blog, A Little Noise. He offers two short gotchas with MySQL stuff this week: the first, a sneaky ORDER BY quiz; the second involving an auto_increment puzzle. Go and see if you need to click his “Show Answer” links.

Not to do be outdone, William Robertson has a “How Many WTFs Can You Spot” competition on Oracle WTF. (“WTF”, as we know, means, “Weird Transgressions and Faux pas”.)

A couple more instructional posts come from René Nyffenegger on Oracle. One illustrates splitting a string into words with regular expressions, and the other covers generating HTML output with SQL*Plus.

Back to Doug’s Oracle Blog for this item on 10g Default Installation and OFA. He finds fault with Oracle’s arrangement of the admin subdirectory. My informal survey of opinion around here on the matter mostly concurs with Doug.

On PostgreSQL General Bits (a blog, not a breakfast cereal), A. Elein Mustain presents a method that guarantees gapless sequences for primary keys, using a sequence-like value. He makes the point that business logic sometimes creates an edge-case that trumps an otherwise working default.

Robert Treat’s zillablog has a workaround for a problem with PostgreSQL installations on Ubuntu Linux. It has to do with Ubuntu’s Postgres packages having a default locale that interferes with tsearch.

Courtesy Craig Mullins’s DB2PORTAL Blog, advice on using variable character columns in DB2.

At Getting the Most out of DB2, Willie Favero lends a hand with his list of current reserved words in DB2.

Finally, something only distantly related to the serious world of database administration. But it’s funny, and funny is good. It’s a post by Tim O’Reilly on O’Reilly Radar, mentioning a couple web applications that take a satirical poke at Web 2.0 hype and buzzwords. I’m not sure what that means — what Web 2.0 hype and buzzwords?

Ahem… well, that’s all for now. Craig Mullins and Daniel Schneller will be reinventing rss-capable folksonomies and disintermediating long-tail blogospheres in the next two weeks, as they take on the 8th and 9th editions respectively, of LogBuffr.

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