Bits and Chaos


Between bits and chaos, a sysadmin stands.

Why Sun acquired MySQL AB

ACM Queue, Vol. 5. No. 6 Sep/Oct 2007, “A Conversation with Jeff Bonwick and Bill Moore“:

“If you have a database sitting on top of a transactional file system, the database is sitting up there being very careful about ordering its writes to the log and being clear about saying when it wants to know this stuff is flushed out. Then beneath it, you’ve got this transactional file system creating transaction groups, putting in a bunch of changes, and then committing those out to disk atomically.
Why not have a blending of the layers where basically the whole back end o the database – the part that isn’t parsing the SQL – participates directly in the transaction groups that ZFS provides, so that consistency is no longer a problem the database has to solve? It can be handled entirely by the storage software below”.
So, Sun has acquired MySQL AB to spreads the adoption of its ZFS file system. Interestingly enough, MySQL has a plugin based architecture, so it’s possible do define more than one data-engine to deal with your data. Saying that we’ll soon see a plugin for MySQL that leverages on ZFS it’s even too easy.
Now that this acquisition is done, I could write some more. About one year ago I heard rumors that Red Hat was considering to buy MySQL AB, and that they stopped at the very last time as they prefer not to put their relationship with Oracle at risk. It’s entirely possibile (but it’s a my own speculation) that Oracle Enterprise Linux came out as a stop signal for Red Hat, which got the message.
Now, some key pieces of a modern Linux installation (Java stack, MySQL database) that Red Hat supports and offers to its customer, are owned by Sun, which became a key player in the Linux market. Another speculation is that, in a one-two years time, Solaris will be the best choice for a “LAMP” architecture, to rename it “SAMP”.
Yes, you can use Ruby on Rails if you want to depart from PHP and avoid Java, but recall to your mind who is behind JRuby, and you got the picture.

Filed under: mysql, oss, , ,

Why open source is a superior development tool: the Zmanda backup tool for MySQL

Free and Open Source is a lot more than a bunch of licenses: it’s a development model, a culture and an ecosystem, that every day and in many different and sometimes unexpected ways shows its inherent superiority. Plus, it’s free, and we’re happy when someone decides to embrace it and surfing the wave to build the next great system.

This story started some time ago, when I searched for a MySQL backup system, and I found Zmanda MySQL Backup.

I have used it for almost one year now, and I’m completely satisfied: it take minutes to configure, I’m using 10% of its features and it already does everything I need. During this year, I restored from a backup several times, retrieving a single database or the entire collection, and Zmanda did its job perfectly. It’s the kind of software you put in production and forgot it because it works.

So long this one would be the typical open source story, where an open source tool is the primary choice in a OSS environment: if you don’t put your money in the database, probably you won’t pay for a database backup system, which is somehow a second line system. The story goes interesting when I encounter a bug in Zmanda, which is a conflict with the required version of Perl.

Now take look at the last messages from the thread: I filed the bug and 3:09 am (I live in Italy and the message time are US-based, I’m not a fanatical bug hunter), and a fixed release was out at 10:09.

It takes 7 hour from bug filling to package release.

It’s a open source tool, we are not paying customers, but we get from the nice and caring people of Zmanda a fixed release for a not critical bug in less than one working day. You won’t get the same level of service from a corporate multibillion software vendor, granted.

This is way OSS is superior: it put the good people working together to build and fix. Everyone adds a small part, but this endless process finally result in a masterpiece.

Filed under: mysql, oss, , , , ,