Log Buffer #81: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Jan 25, 2008 / By David Edwards

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Welcome to the 81st edition of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs.

We begin this issue with some more (and probably not the last) commentary on the acquisition of MySQL AB by Sun. On rand($thoughts);, Savio Rodrigues questions the idea that MySQL are not big enough for some customers: “I’m confused that Sun, and/or MySQL believe that the major impediment to MySQL growth was that MySQL wasn’t a big enough vendor to offer enterprise support.  Huh? I guess Red Hat didn’t get that memo. Could something other than vendor size be relevant to a customer’s willingness to pay for enterprise support once an OSS product gets as ubiquitous as MySQL?”

On the MySQL Performance Blog, Peter Zaitsev has this to say: “It is very interesting for me MySQL choose to be bought out by Sun rather than going IPO even though [the] majority of the steps required for IPO already were done. This could be related to current market conditions or may be 1B price tag was at higher end what was expected from IPO. . . .  How much independence will MySQL management team have? . . .  How relationship with other partners will be structured – will Sun will be able to work with Oracle (Innodb Owner) well or will Falcon be pushed hard as Innodb replacement even if it is half baked?”

George J. Trujillo Jr. of MySQL DBA – An Oracle DBA’s Journey deems MySQL a change agent for open source. “Open success succeeding is a win for every individual and startup company on the Internet. . . . MySQL employees have the opportunity to be a ‘Tipping Point’ for open source. . . . Everyone on the Internet: Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, YouTube, MySpace, bloggers, startup companies, individuals building their first website, hosting companies should all be rooting for the Sun acquisition of MySQL to be successful.” George also has a nice pic of The MySQL Story, a document given to employees of MySQL AB at their recent annual meeting.

Ronald Bradford of Technical Notes and Articles of Interest has a lot to say about the buy-out. For example: “Overall I believe it’s a good thing, on the surface and at the moment. . . . I’d would have liked the option to buy my own MySQL shares, be part of a company that got to that point . . . . [It's] a shame for the pinnacle victory of Open Source, to become something of worth, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but be tempted by the fruits enroute.” Ronald also gives us a list of things he’d like to see come of the new arrangement.

Linux.com has video interviews from the MySQL AB meeting (featuring Robin Miller’s mind-boggling microphone technique) with some notable people from both Sun and MySQL AB, such as James Gosling, Monty Widenius, and Brian “Krow” Aker. To quote Monty, “Expect the unexpected.”

The comments in that item include a typical plump for MySQL’s (non-)rival, PostgreSQL. Savio Rodrigues has some related thoughts on MacGyver and generalizations about software. “[A] reader wrote: ‘I hate it when snobby DBAs or managers scoff at MySQL as if it isn’t ready to play with the big boys. Google called, they’d like to loan you a clue.’ Valid point. But, I’m fairly certain that Google engineers could run a highly scalable computing system . . . using nothing more than OS/2, a paper clip, duct tape and maple syrup.”

Curt Monash of the DBMS2 blog tells what leading DBMS vendors don’t want you to realize: “For most applications at any enterprise  and for all applications at most enterprises super high-end DBMS aren’t required.  . . .  There are relatively few applications that wouldn’t run perfectly well on PostgreSQL or EnterpriseDB today.  . . .  Ditto Intersystems Cache . . .  And to varying degrees, you can also do fine with MySQL, Pervasive PSQL, MaxDB[.] What’s more, these mid-range database management systems can have significant advantages over their high-end brethren.”

Enough of that for now. Some bloggers wrote about using MySQL, such as Baron Schwartz of Xaprb, who explains how pre-fetching relay logs speeds up MySQL replication slaves. “The basic idea is to help overcome replication’s single-threadedness. Under the right conditions, the slaves SQL thread can become I/O-bound, even though the slave server has lots of unused I/O capacity. As a result, it spends a lot of time just waiting for the disk to return some data, and becomes much slower than it has to be.”

Lenz Grimmer, whose post on backing up MySQL using ZFS snapshots fits nicely here. “I stumbled over this (Python-based) utility: SnapBack, a tool that uses ZFS snapshots to perform physical backups of MySQL databases on Solaris. Very cool!”

On the DB2 side, Chris Eaton of An Expert’s Guide to DB2 Technology gives us the second part of his DB2 Backup Basics.

Giuseppe Maxia, The Data Charmer, offers his latest technical quiz, requiring many triggers on a single event on the same table.

René Nyffenegger on Oracle has an item on forcing a nested loop join instead of a hash join.

Nigel of the Preferisco blog has a survey on Oracle RAC Stretch Clusters. He writes, “I’d be very interested to hear from anyone who has implemented a stretch cluster (in test or production) with as much detail as you are free to pass on.”

Tom Kyte explains why recovery is the only thing a DBA is not allowed to get wrong. “I’ve made the claim that a DBA can mess everything else up, but mess up recovery and – well, you cannot call that person a DBA.”

In other Oracle news, Jonathan Lewis offers on his Oracle Scratchpad offers brief reviews of two books, Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals and Relational Database Index Design and the Optimizers

The Scratchpad also has the schedule for Jonathan’s Asia-Pacific tour.

From the Informix world, Guy Bowerman informs us of a conference call with IBM’s Informix Lab on Infomix’s Roadmap and Futures, taking place on Wednesday, January 30.

On the Oracle security weblog, Pete Finnigan discusses a recent study by Sentrigo suggesting that most Oracle professionals do not apply CPUs. “I am starting to get the impression from talking to a lot of people that the issue has become psycological, a lot of companies believe its difficult, that it will fail and that everything in the organisation needs to be regression (sic) tested.”

Musings on Database Security remarks on responses to other responses to the survey, countering its critics.

If you’re hesitant to upgrade your SQL Server software, SSQA.net’s blog might have what you need — the SQL Server database upgrade – FAQs, How-to, Gotchas, links and blurb.

They also have an item asking, Is RAID5 better for performance when SQL Server Clustering and SAN is involved?

Kent Tegels of Enjoy Another Sandwich (Yummy slices of SQL Server between slices of .NET and XML) offers a blog on shredding XML into tables.

Systems Engineering and RDBMS covers a new feature in SQL Server 2008, the Data Collector. “[It] is installed in a SQL instance and which can either be configured to run on your defined schedule or can run all the time and collect different sets of data pertaining to performance diagnostics, historical data for baseline comparisons, policy based data etc.. It can then be used to store this data into a relational database that is called the management data warehouse.”

As always, there are more stories but no more time, so I’ll close this issue with one more item on the Sun/MySQL thing — Zack Urlocker’s insider’s post on Open Sources covering the day of the big announcement at the MySQL company meeting, complete with video of the gang throwing back vodka and belting out a drinking song. Log Buffer wishes them and Sun good health and good luck!

Log Buffer’s editorship is shared amongst database bloggers, so if you’d like to publish an edition yourself, email me, the Log Buffer coordinator, and join the fun.

Until next time, cheers!

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