Saturday, August 9, 2008

101 MySQL Stories


My name is Larry and I am an Oracle DBA. I work in the City for a large finance corporation - we use Oracle, SQLServer and Sybase. It's a great job, very well paid and plenty of opportunities to learn new stuff.

My company has been seriously hit by the crisis in the financial sector and the management is now wondering if it's really necessary to pay expensive licenses for every small project that requires a database. It's true that we have a corporate license agreement, but that does not cover all the instances - we need to distinguish between front end, back end, sockets, physical CPUs, cores, threads and lots of other rules I do not remember.

One of my managers heard about MySQL. He read that MySQL powers the majority of the Web 2.0 world. I thought that MySQL was only a small thing for home use, but maybe it's been improved. I am curious by nature, so I am really excited to discover something new. I am not sure whether a MySQL DBA is paid as much as an Oracle DBA - I'd better Monster a little bit to check - but I am not that greedy and I am sure there are opportunities for MySQL DBAs as well.

Today I am going to meet Inn-oh, apparently a well known MySQL Sales Engineer who moved from Tokyo to London just recently. We will meet at the Solution Centre in the City - he is certainly going to show me massive servers with large instances of a new version of MySQL.

I am really excited. I want to know how MySQL can handle such large web sites. I am sure they will use something like Oracle RAC, maybe a large Storage Area Network from Sun, all active servers, all in a single huge rack with lots of spindles. Still, I do not know how they can manage the thousands of connect/disconnect to the DB every second - programmers really make our life difficult!

I want to know everything about the MySQL Stored Procedure Language. Our company applications heavily rely on PL/SQL; we have hundreds of thousands lines of code. Oracle strongly recommended it for performance reasons, but now I don't know how easy it will be to migrate to another database. Within the database instance we do everything: we send emails, we build web pages, we have even built a full CMS, all in PL/SQL!

I am now at the Sun Solution Centre, Inn-oh is waiting for me. He asks me if I want a drink, I'd love a cup of tea. We move to the table where there are a couple of kettles and some cups. Inn-oh pours the tea in the cup. The cup is full, but inn-oh keeps pouring. "I am sorry Inn-oh" I say, "but the cup is already full, "you can't put more tea in it!".

"Like this cup,", Inn-oh replied, "you are full of your own opinions on how to perform scalability and high availability. You've been told that the database server must be the centre of every system, that complex data and business logic must reside in it. You believe that a single, non-splittable element (the SAN) can provide unlimited scalability and reliability. How can I show you how MySQL scales and performs unless you first empty your cup?".

This story is fictitous. Any reference to persons and/or Oracle or MySQL Customers is purely coincidental. But this is not far off from one day in the life of a MySQL Sales Engineer...

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