If you haven’t seen it, Josh Berkus has a very concise way to look at the confusing mess that is database “clustering” from the point of view of three distinct types of users: transactional, analytic, and online. I think that using this kind of distinction could help keep discussions clear — I’ve seen a lot of conversations around clustering run off the rails due to disagreements about what clustering means. MySQL Cluster, for example, is a huge red herring for a lot of people, but it seems to be a difficult process to learn it well enough to decide. If we called it a clustering solution for transactional users, but not for analytic or online users, it might help a lot.
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