Monday, July 28, 2008

LinkedIn Buys Into MySQL

Hot on the heels of news that SquareSpace is using Oracle, comes news that LinkedIn is going whole hog with MySQL.

Actually, you could say that LinkedIn is buying into Sun. They are buying the MySQL Enterprise subscription and they'll be running MySQL on Sparc servers and Solaris 10. They've signed up for Sun Professional Services, MySQL Professional Services, and Solaris Everywhere. I guess you could say that signed up for the full monty. ;-) Pun intended.

"Helping LinkedIn to scale their Web systems demonstrates the strength of combining the Sun and MySQL teams," said Zack Urlocker, vice-president of products, database group, Sun Microsystems. "Our focus is on delivering customers innovative solutions in a straight-forward, cost-effective way -- based on open source software and other high-performance, reliable platforms."

This looks like Sun's sweet spot. Hardware, Solaris, MySQL and professional services. I'd love to know what the price tag on this deal. This is really the kind of deal we need to hear more of if Sun (and MySQL) want to stay significant in the future.

I use LinkedIn as my primary professional social network. I never really considered what it was running under the covers but from the press release, it looks like they are long time MySQL users. Having them buy the enterprise subscription is a big win for Sun.

On the downside, I still think the enterprise subscription is too cheap. It's almost like giving the software away. ;-)


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Please take a 25 question survey

I recently posted about the results of the EDB Open Source Survey. It doesn't look like the raw data is going to be released. I was also reading about an O'reilly survey that costs $350 to see. Not that I am opposed to them making money, but I wanted to see the results and I think there are a lot people who feel the same. I have no idea if my survey is anything like O'reilly's.

Anyway, I have created a new survey. It has about 10 demographics questions asking who you are, where you are, what kind of role you have, etc. The rest are related to databases and open source. ALL data, and I mean all of the raw results, will be made available to anyone who wants to see it. I will also do some analysis and I will make that data available to any who want to see that.

All questions on the survey are optional. Feel free to skip anything you are uncomfortable answering. On the survey I ask for an email address. That address is strictly to allow me to email you the results. When you complete the survey, you will be taken to a web page. After the survey is over, the results (as a link to a data file) will be posted on that page. If you would rather not share your email ID, leave that field blank and just bookmark the final page. You can check back occasionally and I will post when the data is available here. It's actually less work for me if you don't give me your email addess. ;-)

Also, I ask for a company name. I know some people aren't comfortable sharing that so the data will be masked before it is released. That will allow anyone analyzing the data to get an idea of how many people from the same company answered the survey but they will not know which company it is.

Privacy is important to me.

Please share this and let as many people as possible know about the survey. The more people who answer, the more valuable the results.

Click here to take the survey now. The survey was created with, a free online survey software.

Thank you in advance.


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Thursday, July 24, 2008

OSCON 2008 Popularity Contest

I didn't get a chance to go to OSCON 2008. Bummer. But I can live vicariously through google. So, along with all of the announcements you've heard from OSCON, I know present the OSCON 2008 - Google popularity contest. This is a completely unscientific survey of google hits. I was searching blogs and news. I started with just news but the blogs hits really upped the numbers.

To run these searches, I use "oscon 2008" and the search term, for example:

"oscon 2008" mysql

In the case of open source, I also quoted "open source".

I'm using google's about number. I didn't sit and count each hit. ;-)

Category Term Hits
General open source 28600
cloud 4220
Database database 9680
mysql 10300
postgres 2560
drizzle 521
hadoop 277
firebird 809
derby 1680
ingres 3190
luciddb 37
couchdb 298
Vendor sun 9390
oracle 6480
microsoft 15100
apple 10500
intel 45800
Language ruby 5730
php 12400
java 43200
perl 8280
python 5230
mono 842
Linux ubuntu 10700
fedora 5120
debian 5040
bsd 4870
centos 2520
gentoo 16900
red hat 5860
suse 3220

Interesting results. MySQL took the database by a good margin. I thought Ubuntu would take the Linux flavor but Gentoo got it. I also didn't expect Java to be #1 much less by such a huge margin.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is Drizzle good for MySQL?

Have you heard of Drizzle? It was announced at OSCON yesterday and is all over the blogosphere. From the Drizzle FAQ:

* So what are the differences between is and MySQL?

No modes, views, triggers, prepared statements, stored procedures, query cache, data conversion inserts, ACL. Fewer data types. Less engines, less code. Assume the primary engine is transactional.

Also from the FAQ is that, right now at least, there is no intention to make this run natively on windows and they make the point:

* "This is not a SQL compliant relational..."

Very true, and we do not aim to be that.

It is a fork of MySQL that takes it backward to pre-5.0 in features but hopefully greatly reduces the bugs and instabilities. I plan to look at it but I don't see much enterprise adoption. It was the enterprise users who wanted stored procedures, views and most of the other stuff that is being removed. I think it will be adopted mainly by read-only (or mostly) web sites that want to serve many pages. That's ok. There's a huge market for that. If I found a fit for a client, I would consider it.

They are very honest with the goals:

* What is the target?

Deliver a microkernel that we can use to build a database that meets the needs of a web/cloud infrastructure. To this end we are exploring http interfaces, sharding enhancements, etc... do not expect an Oracle, MySQL, Postgres, or DB2.

I was reading my usual stable of blogs this morning and ran across two blog entries that got me thinking. First is Ronald Bradford's blog, The new kid on the block - Drizzle. Ronald gives a great overview of what Drizzle is trying to achieve, the current state of MySQL and reasons why Drizzle is a good idea. This is well worth a read. I'm just this far from being convinced. ;-)

The second was On MySQL Forks and MySQL's non-open source documentation on Jeremy Cole's blog. To answer his question, I did not know that the MySQL documentation was not open source. That is a very interesting point and one that never even occurred to me. I wonder if Sun would consider opening it?

Anyway, both of those got me thinking about forking MySQL. If you look at the Postgres community (not comparing the databases, just the goals of the community) over the years, they have taken great pains to not fork the database. The contrib modules are there so that the database can add functionality without forking. The companies who have tried to make a go at monetizing Postgres have also taken great pains to not fork the database.

In fairness to Drizzle, it may have a sort of contrib module like functionality (bolding is mine):

* What is the goal?

A micro-kernel that we then extend to add what we need (all additions come through interfaces that can be compiled/loaded in as needed). The target for the project is web infrastructure backend and cloud components.

With Postgres, even companies like Yahoo and Skype who needed specific functionality have contributed that back to the community so that the code will eventually be reworked into the mainline (or as a contrib). There is a very anti-forking bias in the Postgres community and I think that has helped advance the database.

Ignoring any commercial interests, will the MySQL community become fragmented by forking? Because honestly, the community is the important part of any open source project. If Sun is putting its resources behind MySQL 5.1 and 6, and if they don't open the documentation, where will Drizzle go?

I'm just not convinced that Drizzle is a good thing or that it's needed. Then again, if they concentrate on making this a natively scalable database for the cloud, maybe it is time for a fork. Although, I'm not sure that goal is achievable starting with the MySQL codebase. What do you think?


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Results of EnterpriseDB Open Source Database Survey

EnterpriseDB announced the results of the survey they did a few months ago at OSCON. Now, take the results with a grain of salt as it was done by EnterpriseDB. EnterpriseDB is based on Postgres so there is a vested interest in making Postgres sound good. Results can be skewed depending on how the survey is worded, what options are available as answers and who the respondents are.

The results summary is available for free.

Some key facts:

500 respondents. The download page says "500 corporate IT leaders". Or maybe, 500 open source developers. ;-)

Only 9% of respondents indicated that they preferred commercial solutions over open source solutions. I would guess that a majority of those responding were open source database people anyway. This is also one place where I think the wording of survey questions makes a difference. I'd like to see the survey again and compare the results to the survey itself.

The survey shows that respondents are using open source to migrate away from Oracle and SQL Server. It says that less than 1% is using open source to migrate away from DB2. Since DB2 is a major investor in EnterpriseDB, that doesn't surprise me. Again, the target users of the survey make a difference as well as the questions themselves.

Of course, Postgres was chosen more than any other open source database for transactional applications and high reliability. Again, not surprising based on who wrote the survey and what they sell.

Before I put very much value on this survey, I would want to see more than just a hand-crafted summary of the results. A spreadsheet of all the questions and the answers chosen would be, at least somewhat, valuable. Without that though, it's just marketing. I can't find anything on the site indicating the full results will be made available. : , , , , , ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

MySQL vs Postgres, Again - Is Postgres Better?

I was browsing the web on this lazy Sunday afternoon and ran across a good article on the Rarest Words blog. The author was trying to get Django installed and running with Postgres. From the author's own admissions, he is not a Postgres fanatic.

Well, this and last year I hear everywhere that PostgreSQL is the way to go and that usage of mySQL in 2008 makes people puke… But without any real arguments (besides "Postgres is the way to go").

After some not so compatible errors with these not so compatible databases, the author did get it working and ran some benchmarks. Postgres did not turn out faster than MySQL. If you ask anyone in the Postgres community which database is faster, they will say Postgres. Ask anyone in the MySQL community and there's no telling what answer you'll get. ;-)

I have now worked with quite a few different databases. Over the last decade most of my time has been spent with Oracle but I have also spent some time with MySQL and Postgres. So, I have to tell you, Oracle is faster. ;-) Just kidding.

What I have found is that any claim that one database is the best database is just kind of silly. Every database has a different feature set, a different set of strengths and a different set of weaknesses. Comparisons are good so that people know where a database is best used but it's pointless for claims of "winners and losers".

It's sort of like benchmarks. If you benchmark two databases, the loser fan base will always claim that you didn't tune correctly. Or the benchmark was invalid. Or the wrong engine was used. Or whatever. They may be true but even so, with all things being equal, that does not invalidate the benchmark. Under those conditions, one or the other is faster. Is that significant? Probably not.

So, which is better for Django? I haven't a clue. I don't know much about Django. I'd say the best database is the one you are most comfortable using and have the most experience with.

When switching from one database to another, I think most people have pretty much the same experience as the blog author had. It can be really painful at first. I like it. Not the pain so much but digging in to it. I like understanding the differences between one database and another. But then, I'm sort of weird that way. ;-)

For business reasons, if a database is working fine for your needs, don't switch. Most people don't need the absolute performance that a $250/hour brain surgeon DBA might be able to give you. And if you do, you're probably already running Oracle. ;-)


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