Log Buffer #75: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Dec 14, 2007 / By David Edwards

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Welcome to the 75th edition (a.k.a. the Diamond Edition) of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs.

Let’s get things started with some views of the recently finished UKOUG Conference & Exhibition. On blog.gralike.com, Marco Gralike put together a list of articles offering just that, including reporting from Doug Burns, Mark Rittman, Daniel Fink, and Pythian’s own Alex Gorbachev, among others. It sounds and looks like it was a great time. And I really like the Flavor Flav-style oversize badges too. Stylin’!

On his Oracle Security Weblog, Pete Finnigan has made available the slides from his UKOUG Oracle Security Masterclass.

Eddie Awad was not at UKOUG. Perhaps he was immobilized by his bafflement over how many database editions Oracle has. With the help of those who left comments, the answer seems to be: five. Until one of them pipes up to say that it might be eleven. Or more.

Eddie also has the second episode of his Oracle in 3 Minutes webcast, called A Ticking Bomb, or A Sleeper Bug.

It is a complex thing of many parts, is Oracle, and one of its more complex parts is the wait interface. On Optimal DBA, Daniel Fink asks, how useful is the wait interface? Daniel writes, “The critical point that I am trying to make is that there are some problems with the interface, but having some instrumentation is better than not having any! . . . I point out the problems with the instrumentation for two reasons. First, we need to understand it’s limitations. Second, Oracle (and others) need to continue to enhance their instrumentation layer so we can see more, analyze more and ultimately optimize more.”

In case you haven’t already found it, a new blog debuted recently: Inside the Oracle Optimizer, published buy a shadowy group calling themselves the Optimizer Development Group. This week, they offered an article on Outerjoins in Oracle: “There appears to be some confusion about equivalence between ANSI outer join and Oracle outer join syntaxes. The following examples explain the equivalences and inequivalences of these two syntaxes.”

On the Dizwell Informatics blog, Howard Rogers has resolved his Oracle on Linux installation woes and as a result, debuts (conceptually, at least) Doris. Or maybe it’s DORIS — the Dizwell-Oracle Reliable Installation Script.

Assuming the general answer isn’t, “because I couldn’t install it on my Linux server,” Chris Muir of One Size Doesn’t Fit All ask a good question with Why doesn’t the Oracle RDBMS feature in the web space? More specifically, “Given that there is so much publicity about the Web 2.0 world and innovation making it an important market at the moment, why doesn’t the Oracle RDBMS feature in that arena? Many of us claim that the Oracle RDBMS is a very sophisticated product, but why is the apparent market leader in RDBMS technology not adopted as the RDBMS of choice by web companies?” Chris and his readers have some possible answers, and perhaps you do too.

The survey cited in Chris’s piece suggests the prominence of MySQL in the web space. Mark Atwood has offered his contribution to the MySQL wishlist meme, which is: web-enable pieces of MySQL server and client. Example: “LOAD DATA INFILE should be able to read from an popen pipe. And it should be able to read from a URL. And it should be able to understand XML, JSON, YAML, and the various known database dump formats, and various known script pickling and serialization formats.”

On Erik’s Diary, Erik Wetterberg responds.

Eric Bergen wishes the MySQL release cycle weren’t, as he puts it, completely broken. He writes that MySQL AB’s new-ish arrangement of its products ” . . .was a plan to hand paying customers bleeding edge code that had been tested only by MySQL’s QA team. It seems MySQL has forgotten the years of testing by millions of community members that has given MySQL the stability we have grown to trust.”

Coincidentally, on Open Sources | Rodrigues & Urlocker, Zack Urlocker published a piece on internal vs. external testing at MySQL AB, saying, “While it’s taken a few years, I think we have arrived at a good balance between internal and external testing.”

Sergey Petrunia makes available audio and slides from his presentation, How MySQL Handles ORDER BY, GROUP BY, and DISTINCT.

On Diamond Notes, Keith Murphy has a lazyweb question or two on checking/optimizing and repairing tables: “How do you manage your checks on production servers? How do you do it for the least impact on the server?”

I must mention now that the MySQL She-BA herself, Sheeri Cabral has joined the Pythian fold, and we’re very pleased to have her. She made her first contributions to the blog this week. This first, on Sheeri’s first week at Pythian; and the second, a quick introduction to “SOUNDS LIKE” vs. Full-Text search in MySQL. Welcome, Sheeri! We’re all looking forward to hearing more from you.

In the Postgres ‘sphere, Kristo Kaiv of <(-_-)> on PostgreSQL was looking at a similar area, substring search. “As most of you have probably discovered there is no nice way to do substring search in PostgreSQL however where’s a will there’s a way.”

The Postgres OnLine Journal has another workaround to a shortcoming, in Database Abstraction with Updateable Views. “One of the annoying things about PostgreSQL . . . is that simple views are not automatically updateable.  . . .  For simple views, this is annoying, but for more complex views it is a benefit to be able to control how things are updated. In a later version . . . this will be ratified and PostgreSQL will enjoy the same simplicity of creating simple updateable views currently offered by MySQL and SQL Server and other DBMSs. . . .”

On Greg’s Postgres stuff, Greg Sabino Mullane announces the release of his Nagios plugin for Postgres.

Stefan Kaltenbrunner of mastermind’s weblog offers a simple benchmark test of Postgres 8.3 vs. 8.2, and lots of informed comments.

On In Recovery . . . Paul S. Randal a half-hour audio interview on what’s new in SQL Server 2008, with himself and Kimberly L. Tripp.

On SimonS Blog, Simon Sabin gives his first thoughts on Katmai Spatial. (And I should squeeze in here a post by MySQL AB’s Kaj Arno on a feature preview of MySQL’s GIS functionality.)

Finally, Ken Henderson introduces a SQL Profiler trace Swiss Army Knife. He writes, “Have you ever needed to find your most expensive queries and quickly grew weary of writing T-SQL against trace tables to try to ferret them out? Have you ever had to wade through gigabytes of trace data just to find one ill-behaving query? Have you ever struggled to decide what performance metrics really matter when analyzing Profiler traces: duration, reads, writes, etc? Today’s post is about a new tool Bart and I wrote to help you do all this and more.” It’s called Retrace.

That’s all for now. It’s the holiday time of year, so there won’t be an ordinary Log Buffer next week. Instead, I propose a “Yule Log Buffer” in the style of LB#67. Please start bookmarking your favourite blog items between now the 21st, and come next Friday contribute them as comments to LB#76. It should be fun!

Until then, cheers!

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