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Showing entries 1 to 24

Displaying posts with tag: IT Industry (reset)

Why Aren't All Data Immutable?
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Over the last few years there has been an increasing interest in immutable data management. This is a big change from the traditional update-in-place approach many database systems use today, where new values delete old values, which are then lost. With immutable data you record everything, generally using methods that append data from successive transactions rather than replacing them.  In some DBMS types you can access the older values, while in others the system transparently uses the old values to solve useful problems like implementing eventual consistency.

Baron Schwartz recently pointed out that it can be hard to get decent transaction processing performance based on append-only methods like append-only B-trees.  This is not a very strong argument

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Mac OS X: The Love Affair Is Over
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Like a lot of developers I started using a MacBook Pro around the time of Tiger.  I instantly loved it:  simple, fast, and virtually no system administration overhead. The genius of OS X was that it never got in the way. You opened the box, pulled out the machine, and got to work. It had a great user interface, excellent  development tools (Eclipse in my case) and the command utilities like ssh, rsync, and bash worked seamlessly with Linux systems.

Well, that was then and this is now. Starting with Lion I began to spend an increasing amount of time fighting OS X instead of getting work done. I'm now using Mavericks and have not seen much improvement, in fact quite the contrary. Here are just a few of the problems after the Lion to Mavericks upgrade:
  • Spotlight indexes destroyed; need 2 days to regenerate
  • AppleMail access



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Why I Love Open Source
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Anders Karlsson wrote about Some myths on Open Source, the way I see it a few days ago.  Anders' article is mostly focused on exploding the idea that open source magically creates high quality code.  It is sad to say you do not have to look very far to see how true this is.

While I largely agree with Anders' points, there is far more that could be said on this subject, especially on the benefits of open source. I love working on open source software. Here are three reasons that are especially important to me.

1.) Open source is a great way to disseminate technology to users.  In the best cases, it is this easy to get open source products up and running:

$ sudo apt-get install software-i-want-to-use

A lot







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Database Failure Is Not the Biggest Availability Problem
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There have been a number of excellent articles about the pros and cons of automatic database failover triggered by Baron's post on the GitHub database outage.  In the spirit of Peter Zaitsev's article "The Math of Automated Failover," it seems like a good time to point out that database failure is usually not the biggest source of downtime for websites or indeed applications in general.  The real culprit is maintenance.

Here is a simple table showing availability numbers out to 5 nines and what they mean in terms of monthly down-time.

Normal 0 false false



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Automated Database Failover Is Weird but not Evil
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Github had a recent outage due to malfunctioning automatic MySQL failover.  Having worked on this problem for several years I felt sympathy but not much need to comment.  Then Baron Schwartz wrote a short post entitled "Is automated failover the root of all evil?"  OK, that seems worth a comment:  it's not.  Great title, though.

Selecting automated database failover involves a trade-off between keeping your site up 24x7 and making things worse by having software do the thinking when humans are not around.  When comparing outcomes of wetware vs. software it is worth remembering that humans are not at their best when woken up at 3:30am.  Humans go on

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Life in the Amazon Jungle
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In late 2011 I attended a lecture by John Wilkes on Google compute clusters, which link thousands of commodity computers into huge task processing systems.  At this scale hardware faults are common.  Google puts a lot of effort into making failures harmless by managing hardware efficiently and using fault-tolerant application programming models.  This is not just good for application up-time.  It also allows Google to operate on cheaper hardware with higher failure rates, hence offers a competitive advantage in data center operation.

It's becoming apparent we all have to think like Google to run applications successfully in the cloud.  At Continuent we run our IT and an increasing amount of QA and development on Amazon Web

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Oracle Missed at MySQL User Conference...Not!
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The MySQL UC this past week was the best in years.   Percona did an outstanding job of organizing the main Percona Live event that ran Tuesday through Thursday.  About 1000 people attended, which is up from the 800 or so at the O'Reilly-run conference in 2011.  There were also excellent follow-on events on Friday for MariaDB/SkySQL, Drizzle, and Sphinx.

What made this conference different was the renewed energy around MySQL and the number of companies using it.  
  • Big web properties like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Craigslist continue to anchor the MySQL


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    Disproving the CAP Theorem
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    Since the famous conjecture by Eric Brewer and proof by Nancy Lynch et al., CAP has given the world countless learned discussions about distributed systems and many a well-funded start-up.  Yet who truly understands what CAP means?  Even a cursory survey of the blogosphere shows profound disagreement about the meaning of terms like CP, AP, and CA in real systems.  Those who disagree on CAP include some of the most illustrious personages of the database community.

    We can therefore state with some confidence that CAP is confusing. Yet this observation itself raises deeper questions.  Is CAP merely confusing?  Or is it the case that as with other initially accepted but

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    Presenting at Percona Live and SkySQL MariaDB Solutions Day in Santa Clara
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    MySQL community conferences are alive and well in 2012.   Percona has taken the initiative to host the yearly MySQL event at the Santa Clara Hyatt; it's now called Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo.  It runs from 10 through 12 April.  But don't plan on going home Thursday night.  On Friday 13 April you can also attend the SkySQL and MariaDB MySQL Solutions Day in the same location.  And wait, that's not all!  Drizzle Day is also on 13 April and also at the Hyatt, so you can catch up on what the Drizzle folks have been up to for the last 12 months.

    Now for some specifics on the conferences where

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    I Really Dislike Anonymous Attacks
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    If you are interested in NoSQL databases (or maybe not) perhaps you have seen the anonymous "warning" about using MongoDB.   It concludes with the following pious request:

      Please take this warning seriously.

    Now there are a lot of great resources about data management on the web but the aforementioned rant is not one of them.  If you plan to write technical articles and have people take them seriously, here are a few tips.
  • Sign your name.  Readers are more impressed when they see you are not afraid to stand behind your words. 
  • Explain what problem you were trying to solve.  Otherwise uncharitable readers might think you just started pumping information into a new database without thinking about possible consequences and now





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    Open Source Hardware
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    Back in 2010 I stopped buying test servers from Dell and began building them from components using Intel i7 processors, X58-based mother boards, and modular power supplies from Ultra.  It was a good way to learn about hardware.  Besides, it was getting old to pay for Dell desktop systems with Windows, which I would then wipe off when installing Linux.  Between the educational value of understanding the systems better, selecting the exact components I wanted, and being able to fix problems quickly, it has been one of the best investments I have ever made.  And it didn't cost any more than equivalent Dell servers.

    For this reason, a couple of recent articles about computer hardware caught my attention.  First, Dell is losing business

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    Is Apple Good for Innovation?
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    Just about everyone on the planet agrees that Apple products are the soul of innovative design.  But are they good for innovators?  For me the answer is "not so much."

    I have been using Apple laptops and iPhones for years.  As a software developer, I have a list of annoyances with Mac OS X starting with Apple's incomprehensible management of Java.  However, Mac OS X is far more productive than MS Windows, with its viruses, crummy OS releases, and bloatware.  iPhones are close to worthless as telephones in the area where I live in large part due to ATT's network.  But you can now switch to Verizon, so that's not such a problem either.

    The real problem with Apple is that their products are closed.  Want to install a new file system?  Not here.  Want to pick a different motherboard to play around with power



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    It's All about the Team
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    Earlier this week Giuseppe Maxia blogged about joining Continuent as Director of QA.  Creating high quality systems for distributed data management is a hard but fascinating problem.  I have been hooked on it myself for many years.  Guiseppe brings the creativity as well as humor our team needs to nail this problem completely.  I'm therefore delighted to know he will be focused on it.

    That said, I'm even happier for another reason.  Beyond solving any single problem, Giuseppe strengthens an already strong team.  Ed Catmull of Pixar gave a great speech a few years ago about managing creative teams and why successful companies eventually fail.  Among other things he asked the question whether

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    Help MySQL Stay Free
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    There's a campaign started by Monty Widenius to save MySQL from the evil clutches of Oracle. You can read about it here.
    Building the Open Source Hackers Cooperative
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    It is striking how much harder it is to make money from open source than to write it in the first place. Open source development is a sophisticated and well-understood social activity. However, the economic model is often laughably primitive: "if you build it, they will come." That applies to the question of turning your open source project into a real job. More interestingly, it applies to the question of how to make open source projects as valuable as possible to the largest number of people. In this post I would like to propose an answer to both questions.

    To illustrate open source sophistication, just look how easy it has become to start and manage projects. It is almost a cookie-cutter procedure. You pick one of a number of well known licenses, manage the code on SourceForge.net or

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    MySQL Conference Impressions and Slides
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    "Interesting" was probably the most overused word at the MySQL Conference that just ended yesterday. Everyone is waiting to find out more about the Oracle acquisition of Sun. As a community we need to find some synonyms or things will become very tiresome. Personally I vote for intriguing.

    Here are slides for my presentations at the MySQL Conference as well as the parallel Percona Performance is Everything Conference. Thanks to everyone to attended as well as to the organizers. You had wonderful ideas and suggestions.



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    Contemplating the MySQL Diaspora
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    The break-up of the MySQL codeline is finally attracting attention from polite society outside the open source database community. This attention has been accompanied by much speculation, some of it informed and some not so informed about what is driving the split. Since everyone else is chipping in theories about how and why, here's mine:

    It's the economy, stupid.

    First, MySQL AB seeded a huge market for the MySQL database. MySQL 5.1 for all the



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    Drizzle is Cool but Confusing
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    Brian Aker's Drizzle post was the most interesting news to emerge during OSCON 2008. In case you have been on vacation, Drizzle is a stripped down version of MySQL for horizontally scaled web applications and Cloud Computing. Full-blown SQL databases are often overkill here, a point of view espoused by this blog among others.

    It's easy to get excited about Drizzle. Brian, Monty, and others define the problem space very clearly and list some intriguing feature ideas on the Drizzle wiki. Just one example: sharding across multiple nodes, which is key to scaling massive reads and writes. From a technical perspective, it sounds cool.



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    Atlassian Using Hyperic
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    I just saw that Atlassian, the provider of the essential community tools like Confluence wiki and JIRA ticket system, updated their wiki on the importance of monitoring the “lifeblood of your organization”.

    They even outline the important monitoring tasks you need, and stress that it will help when dealing with their own world class support.

    Monitoring involves a number of essential tasks, including those listed below:

    • Monitoring log files.
    • Checking for HTTP-availability and performance
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    What Else *Would* Oracle Say?
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    This just in. In a long interview on Linux Voices, Oracle's Linux architect Edward Screven comments on the MySQL/Sun acquisition.

    ...we just don’t care. I mean, we don’t see MySQL very often, again, in competitive deals. It’s out there, but it’s not very often that a database sales rep comes back and says, “I had to compete for the business against MySQL.”

    To be fair the question is about how the MySQL acquisition affects Linux. But it seems really hard to believe Oracle does not care about MySQL. This is the same company that bought InnoDB. There is no doubt that Oracle is watching developments at Sun very carefully. The interesting problem for Oracle is not simply that Sun now has MySQL. It is that Sun owns or backs a portfolio of open source databases. And



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    MySQL, Sun, and the Future of Open Source Databases
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    So what's it like now that Sun now owns MySQL? The executive summary: a little weird. I was at the MySQL User Conference a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to talk with a lot of people in the community as well as many MySQL folks. Marten Mickos is now the head of database products at Sun. It's not very hard to figure out what Sun will do with MySQL products for the near future--pretty much what MySQL was doing already.

    The real question for a lot of people is what will happen with databases like PostgreSQL and Derby. Sun has invested heavily in both of them, and PostgreSQL in particular is now quite fast. With the MySQL acquisition, Sun has an opportunity to run the table with multiple offerings that cover both enterprise applications as well as web and embedded. However, that would mean cutting down the MySQL roadmap to concentrate, for

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    MySQL Conference, Chapter 2
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    The team just finished our second successful MySQL Con. Many thanks to Marten & Zack and all the folks at O’Reilly that put on such a great conference.

    This year definitely had a different feel, and of course that had a lot to do with Sun’s influence. It felt like it was almost a new event, a chapter 2 for MySQL, and its ecosystem of vendors and customers. There were more people - I don’t know exact numbers, but it felt appeared to be twice as packed. The exhibit hall was the same, but we took up a bit more space than last year and certainly there were much fancier booths - ours included! We even gave away multiple prizes this year - our fun 8-ball tshirts, and a couple remote control helicopters. Scott Baird and Mike Hogan were the lucky winners this year.

    The one


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    ?Gatekeepers of the Datacenter? vs. Freedom of choice in IT
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    I’ve written in the past about how enterprise management vendors can act as “Gatekeepers of the Datacenter” by virtue of what technologies they do or don’t support as part of their management solutions. This rather lame dynamic is a big part of the reason why a lot of otherwise great technologies dont make it all the way into the traditional enterprise.

    The problem gets further compounded when one of these “Gatekeepers” is also a platform or stack vendor. See, it’s hard to resist the temptation of delivering the absolute best management for IBM products from a Tivoli solution while shortchanging non-IBM ones. Or, to lay this on one of the aspiring members of the big 4… how about getting support for SQL Server on Oracle’s Enterprise Manager. Hmmm… I’m gonna guess it sucks

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    Hyperic Releases Alfresco Plugin
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    Released today, administrators of the Alfresco Enterprise Content Management System now have access to a fully supported, enterprise-ready systems management solution with Hyperic HQ for Alfresco. The new Hyperic HQ plugin instantly enables HQ and Alfresco administrators to take full advantage of Hyperic?s powerful management capabilities, including auto-discovery, monitoring, complex alerting and remediation. With today’s release of the Hyperic HQ for Alfresco plugin, Hyperic HQ becomes the only monitoring system to natively support Alfresco deployments on every platform and architecture.

    Enterprise Content Management ensures the quick and reliable delivery, accessibility and long-term control of the most important information assets in an enterprise. These all require a strong, reliable architecture,? said John

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    Showing entries 1 to 24

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