Log Buffer #86: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Posted in: Technical Track

Welcome to the 86th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs. Let’s jump right in.


This was the week in which Sun Microsystems’ acquisition of MySQL went through. Wow, that didn’t take long at all! Zack Urlocker reports on the celebration at MySQL AB when the deal was completed, and looks ahead at the immediate future, which includes the “Meetup Mashup” tour. There’s a nice pic of MySQL CEO Marten Mickos and some of the gang looking well pleased, part of our ongoing reportage of DBAs with bottles. Zack has some more thoughts on the Open Sources blog, on integrating MySQL with Sun.

In his Technical Notes and Articles of Interest, Ronald Bradford observed the occasion and added some commentary — on the official Sun-MySQL website and the marketing material presented therein; the same on the mysql.com site.

The two organizations’ CEOs have been getting around this week. Robert Scoble conducted a (kind of watery) video interview with Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz. And guess who shows up — it’s Marten again!

Monty says some things about the first “normal” build of the Maria storage engine, and also some regarding the new arrangement: “I hope that within Sun we will get resources to change our current polices, priorities and in some ways the whole engineering organization to make the development model much friendlier to outside participants. It should be as easy for an outsider to get a patch into the MySQL server as someone working for MySQL.”

On MySQL Dump, Julian Swanhart discusses incrementally refreshing materialized views with MySQL 5. He writes: “One of my favorite features of the Oracle database is support for Materialized Views . . . I’ve often lamented that MySQL lacks this feature, but everybody I talked to seemed to feel that the feature was just “too big”, “too difficult” or “frankly impossible” to implement. Well, frankly, nothing motivates me more than telling me that something is impossible.”

Jeff Stoner, inhabitant of Stoner’s World, has an item about his use of monitoring MySQL and Red Hat Cluster. “In a perfect world, the only reason MySQL would pass between nodes is for server maintenance, under the control of a human. In reality, crap happens. Redhat Cluster manages all this, but I still want to know that a failover happened (is hardware going bad? did a software bug cause a failure? etc.)”

The DBA Dojo has an exposition on MySQL Multi Master-Master on EC2. “It is about improving the availability of your databases on EC2 and allowing easy backups without affecting either master instance. . . . I am going to test using mysql-proxy to perform that role of load-balancing a multi master replication cluster next. Then we are going to hammer the hell out of the configuration using mysqlslap, then sysbench and then the granddaddy of OLTP benchmarks DBT.”


Firebird News shares a link to how to install Firebird 2.0.3 database server On Ubuntu 7.10


Amardeep Sidhu offers links to a three-part howto on regular expressions in Oracle.

Jason Arneil reports on a view that allows determining the dataguard standby apply rate. He writes, “Paul Moen . . . wrote about a script he uses to keep a historical record of the apply rate. However if you want something more immediate you can maybe use a view called V$STANDBY_APPLY_SNAPSHOT.”

Doug Burns leads a discussion of issues related to the CBO after upgrading from 9i to 10g.

There’s another illuminating discussion on Tyler Muth’s blog, this one on PL/SQL associative arrays. “They’re particularly useful for name-value pair type arrays where you want to look up the value of a particular element without looping over the entire array. To quote the 11g documentation ‘It is like a simple version of a SQL table where you can retrieve values based on the primary key’.”

Herman Buitenhuis of the AMIS Technology Blog shows how to stop running RMAN jobs in OEM Grid Control. Writes Herman, “Grid Control makes quite interesting RMAN scripts. You can schedule these RMAN scripts. At one glimpse you can see all your backup jobs and the status of these backup jobs in the job activity list. Also you can see if these backup jobs have successfully run. For script kiddies OEM Grid Control is bad news, because it makes scripts for you. But if you like to be wizard kiddy, you feel to be in heaven.But after some while, life with OEM Grid Control turned out not so nice.”

Tom Kyte begins a short piece on the problems caused in logic by special characters such as apostrophes, and how expectional situatiions should properly be handled in Oracle. A lot of DBAs have thoughts about this, and the conversation is extensive and worthwhile.

On OptimalDBA, Daniel Fink asks, What if the Wait Interface was licensed separately? “I do wonder…what would the current state of Oracle Diagnosis and Optimization be if the Wait Interface, Extended SQL Trace and Statspack were additional charges? We would be back in the “Dark Ages” of Diagnosis. … I do wonder…what would the current state of Oracle market share be if we had limited access to diagnostic views and tools? Perhaps Informix, Sybase, DB2 would be leading the pack because their performance was enhanced by system and session diagnostic and optimization information.” Some good comments too.

Frits Hoogland has part-two of a series on the low-level ins and outs of ASM disks on Linux, specifically, ” . . . the difference between an ASM disk used ‘raw’, and an ASM disk used via ASM-lib”.

Pythian’s Gregory Guillou was likewise playing with ASM, and he offers a howto on renaming a copied or cloned ASM disk group.

SQL Server

The Database Underground’s Sean McCown also contributes a look at 2008, Katmai’s DBA feature. “Katmai has this cool feature where you can run code against a group of servers. And I don’t know if it’s specifically for DBAs, but it’s certainly well suited for us. I’m constantly having to run code on a number of servers like giving a new user rights to multiple boxes, or deploying an SP to a lot of boxes. This is a fabulous feature and it looks like MS got a couple things right here.”

John Hicks shares his exposition of cryptography in SQL Server.

Derek Comingore has the first in a series on SQL Server 2008’s Data Collector. “The DC is a great tool (and start) to enabling out-of-the-box performance data warehouses for SQL Server 2008 database systems. Within just a few minutes a user can configure an OLTP SQL Server 2008 system to collect and upload its collection set defined items to an designated MDW server.”


Vincent McBurney has been Tooling Around on the IBM Information Server and takes issue with an Microsoft SQL Server 2008 ETL world record that’s years behind its competition as he sees it: “I love that the SQL Server 2008 launch included an ETL benchmark, that Microsoft are helping push ETL into the mainstream and evangelising ETL products, that they are stirring up the other ETL vendors. It’s all great. My observation is whether you want to publish a benchmark that shows your 2008 tool is as fast as a competing tools from 2003.”

On An Expert’s Guide to DB2 Technology, Chris Eaton begins a series on DB2 recovery basics.

Troy Coleman, the DB2 Tutor has his review of IBM Press’s Understanding DB2. He begins, “If you’re looking for a book that presents a well-rounded overview of DB2 for LUW and you’d like to know what’s new in version 9 and 9.5, look no further.”

So ends this edition of Log Buffer. As always, I invite all of our readers to get involved — read the Log Buffer homepage and drop me a line. Till next time!



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About the Author

Dave Edwards is the Communications Specialist for the Pythian Group.

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