Log Buffer #66: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Posted in: Technical Track

Welcome to the 66th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs, raking up the blogs like so many fallen leaves.

Fall back, spring ahead… Remember all the fuss last spring about the change in Daylight Saving Time? Well, it’s back, at least if you neglected it the first time. Thanks to Systems Engineering and RDBMS for the reminder which they give with links to a few resources.

Conference season is upon us again (does it ever stop?), and we have some bloggers on the case. On blog.gralike.com, Marco Gralike recaps his posts from Miracle Open World, linking to other bloggers’ MOW posts. And on SimonS SQL Stuff, the eponymous Simon Sabin briefly sums up MS UK’s SQL Bits 2007what a slice (or words very close to that).

Mike McBurney of Tooling Around on the IBM Information Server says, On my command unleash Information on Demand, and so it is done. Or so it will be done, at least — starting on the 14th in enchanting Las Vegas. In honour of the big event, Mike offers a very funny bogus opening speech that includes references to at least two off-colour jokes.

Willie Favero of Getting the Most out of DB2… will be there, naturally. He has a little more on the upcoming conference, including a menu of all the different fare to be served. If you need a little help making your choices, Fred Sobotka of DB2 News & Tips shows how you can grab a sneak peek at next week’s IOD2007 slides.

Database geek gal Beth Breidenbach will also be attending, and she is wondering if any Oracle bloggers will be there too.

The MySQL Conference and Expo 2008 is on its way too, albeit not until spring. George Trujillo of MySQL DBA – An Oracle DBA’s Journey offers an early pep-talk on getting involved with the conference. If you take the bait, Xaprb’s Baron Schwartz delivers some tips to aspiring presenters on how to get your session accepted.

Elsewhere, Baron proposes a bounty on MySQL Table Sync features. “I am considering taking some time off work to concentrate deeply on MySQL Table Sync… There are a lot of bugs and feature requests outstanding for it. It…needs a lot of work, and I can’t do it in one-hour or even three-hour chunks. … I’m considering asking for a bounty… Please let me know what you think of this.”

Wave2.org’s blog has an item on MySQL Snapshots on FreeBSD: backing up your MySQL stuff using the FreeBSD OS’s system snapshot. The item also mentions FreeBSD Security Event Auditing.

On Diamond Notes, Keith Murphy mentions his learning about using disk-based tables in MySQL Cluster, especially for the lazy. (Is laziness a virtue in DBAs as it is in developers? I assume so.)

At An Oracle DBA’s Journey, George offers his thoughts on best practices toward what he calls the MySQL Optimal Configuration Architecture or MOCA. As he suggests, every experienced DBA will have their way of standardizing, and this is his.

Peter Zaitsev of the MySQL Performance Blog compares the performance of UNION vs. UNION ALL.

Jamonation.com reports that they converted the site from MySQL to PostgreSQL for reasons of performance. Okay, not a big story, except for the great number of comments in reply to this little technical item.

There’s always time for a hissing contest, but if you like facts in yours, have a look at this item (from last week) on Pete Loshin’s blog on what he calls the ultimate guide to SQL implementations: “Go check it out and you can figure out just how your SQL of choice stacks up against the SQL:2003 standard, Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.”

Jimmy Guterman reports on O’Reilly Radar on what he thinks might be the best press release ever — the one from Backcountry.com announcing their donation of their synching tool to the PostgreSQL community, which begins, “After mooching off the open source world for 10 years and making millions…”

That tool, Bucardo, was developed by Greg Sabino Mullane. On Greg’s Postgres stuff, he explicates sequence solutions for multi-master replication. “Sequences can be a great thing: a guaranteed unique primary key that maintains the uniqueness across transactional boundaries… However, when doing multi-master replication in Postgres, (such as with Bucardo), some issues can occur… Doing multi-master replication can require you to rethink how your tables and sequences are set up.”

On Command Prompt Inc.’s blog, Josh Drake shows on a PostgreSQL gotcha: default timestamps are not exact. “If you are compiling PostgreSQL from source you have a configure option called: --enable-integer-datetimes(.) Now Debian/Ubuntu wisely turn this option on by default, unfortunately the RPM provided by PostgreSQL.Org and the RPM provided by RedHat/Fedora do not… It is a really big deal because you must initdb to fix the problem. That means a dump and reload. That means a significant outage.”

Everyone’s looking into Oracle 11g and reporting back. On the AMIS Technology blog, Lucas Jellema has two posts on his findings. The first, on Oracle 11g Total Recall: “This is called marketing! I have read some weblogs where people – mostly DBAs – are surprised at all this attention for Oracle Total Recall, as it seems little more than the Flashback technology that since Oracle 9i has come to the foreground in Oracle 10g with Flashback Query, Flashback Table (even to before undrop) and Flashback Database… Well, in my opinion: in Oracle 11g, for the first time, Flashback has become a tool for Database Designers and Application Developers. And that is pretty important news.”

Lucas’s second 11g item is on flexible row generation with Oracle 11g‘s unpivot operator.

Pythian’s Grégory Guillou discovered an unexpected difference between count(*) and count(1). Also here at home, Robert Hamel gives a bad rating to 11g‘s new pivot table feature. “I was very pleased when I heard about Oracle adding pivot functionality in select statements… I feel that Oracle let us down by forcing us to specify columns. I know it’s not easy to do, but that’s why I was excited about the feature in the first place. I would give this feature a 2 out of 10.”

Steve Karam, the Oracle Alchemist, links to an article by Don Burleson on the Oracle 11g result cache.

In the SQL Server sphere, Craig Freedman reports on grouping sets in SQL Server 2008. “In my last two posts, I gave examples of aggregation WITH ROLLUP and CUBE. SQL Server 2008 continues to support this syntax, but also introduces new more powerful ANSI SQL 2006 compliant syntax. In this post, I’ll give an overview of the changes.”

On In Recovery…, Paul S. Randal writes about SQL Server 2008’s performance boost for database mirroring. “As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the new features for database mirroring in SQL Server 2008 is log stream compression… Network bandwidth can be a bottleneck for mirrored databases where the rate of transaction log generation is high enough to saturate the network… Log compression is a way to alleviate this problem.”

On Enjoy Another Sandwich, Kent Tegels presents an analytical article on What The SSIS Masters Know, Part 2. “One of the first tasks we must do well as SSIS developers is really understand our source data. That seems rather obvious but it when we fail to do this task well, we frequently end up having to re-plan, re-work and re-do the packages we have designed.”

Jamie Thomson of the conchango blogs has written a braindump of things he has learned about SSIS Dataflow mechanics.

He has another post here on dataflow expression in SSIS.

Eddie Awad reminds us, beware of comments in SQL. Beware also of SQL injection. It is no laughing matter, I assure you. Nonetheless, Andrew Clarke of Radio Free Tooting had a good larf at a recent XKCD webcomic dealing with SQL injection, and he was kind enough to point it out and also note a few other DB blogs that also had. Thanks, Andrew. Oh  — I  found  few  you  missed .

That’s all for this one. Log Buffer will be back in a week’s time, of course. Don’t forget, LB’s editorship is distributed, which is a fancy way of saying, you can do this. Read the Log Buffer homepage and the guidelines, then get in touch.



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About the Author

Dave Edwards is the Communications Specialist for the Pythian Group.

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