Log Buffer #87: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs

Posted in: Technical Track

Welcome the the 87th of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs.

First up, a couple of items responding to news about H-Store, the new database technology. Nigel Thomas of Preferisco wonders if H-Store is a new architectural era, or just a toy?

Too much information, in turn, asks, Is H-Store the future of database management systems?


Also aware of how technological change affects day-to-day DBA business, Dave Stokes of Dave’s Stuff has a tip for MySQL certification candidates: “[They] need to know about a little known but important function . . .” — PROCEDURE ANALYSE(). He writes, “It is mainly used to suggest optimal column sizes. Forty years ago you needed to worry how to properly encode data so that it would fit on an eighty column punch card. Thirty years ago when hard disks were the size of stove or dishwasher, there was a need to conserve as much space as possible. Today people carry gigs of data in their pocket and a terabyte of disk is available at local stores next to other consumer products. So you can be less than optimal in your storage of data for the most part. There are exceptions.”

Dave also asks that, as MySQL joins Sun and introduces their data into Sun’s systems, MySQL certification candidates update their email address info.

Matt Asay of the Open Road covers IBM’s announcement that is has ended development for MySQL storage engine, SolidDB. “Some among us (myself included) once worried that IBM was joining with Oracle to besiege MySQL when it acquired SolidDB, one of MySQL’s primary storage engines. It turns out, however, that IBM didn’t have such nefarious plans.”

Guiseppe Maxia, The Data Charmer, illustrates how the easy use of DISTINCT is lazy.

On Diamond Notes, a tip on speeding up imports by sorting, coming from a 60-hour, 106 million row MyISAM import.

CrazyToon offers answers to the question, how do you set up master-master replication in MySQL?, laying out the basics of this arrangement.

Baron Schwartz was mining the same vein this week. He has a piece on Xaprb on how to sync tables in master-master MySQL replication.

so many trails … so little time has an item showing how to sync two tables in MySQL.
“Usually replication is the suggested answer, but it might be a little overkill… In this case the right tool might be a mix of the new MySQL features, federated tables, extended insert synthax, stored procedures, events, triggers … quite a fest.”

On the MySQL Performance Blog, Peter Zaitsev has some remarks on what he deems a piece of Sun/MySQL marketing. In his analysis of it , he writes, “I got first Sun/MySQL Newsletter Today which among other things lead to the site publishing among other things links to various stuff related to Sun and MySQL and among other things – these Benchmarks. . . . My advice to someone looking at marketing benchmarks would be to examine issues carefully and see what the facts are and which sales decision you’re pushed to using this data. Most likely there will be the trick played with the logic.”


PostgreSQL DB News reports that Oracle is #1 but Postgres is gaining ground, based o the results of a recent survey by Evans Data.

Peter Eisentraut’s PostgreSQL blog has some explanation of reading implicit casts in PostgreSQL 8.3. “[A] lot of people are having trouble with the removal of many implicit casts in PostgreSQL 8.3. While this will lead to more robust applications in the future, it will prevent many people from moving to 8.3 altogether at the moment.

On </depesz>, Hubert Lubaciewski has a thorough and much-commented item on searching for longest prefix.


One item for the up-and-comer open source DBMS — Firebird News’s announcement of the Brazilian’s Firebird Developers Day, coming on July 17.


On blog.gralike.com, Marco Gralike announces the latest OAK Table Member — conferred on none other than Pythian’s Alex Gorbachev at the recent HOTSOS Symposium. The piece has the latest weird photo of a DBA, Alex wearing — well, see for yourself. The pic is a little fuzzy, but I think that fits with much of what goes on off-track at these conferences. Oh, and congratulations, Alex!

Speaking of HOTSOS, some of our favourite bloggers were there, and of course they covered it. Here’s Alex’s summary of day-one. On the AMIS Tech blog, Patrick Roozen also covers day-one.

Lutz Hartmann covers how to capture a workload in 10g for testing in 11g. Lutz writes, “Last week the patchset was released by Oracle. . . . One of the highlights is the possibilty to capture a workload in a database and ship it to an 11g database for testing. Only with this feature in place the 11g Real Application Testing Feature DATABASE REPLAY makes real sense.” Click through for his introduction.

Kevin Meade reports on a misunderstood feature, autonomous transactions. He begins, “[An] Autonomous Transaction lets a job, commit some data to the database as an ON-THE-SIDE event, without committing data in the MAIN-EVENT. Sounds useful and it can be. But the Autonomous Transaction can also be dangerous. An Autonomous Transaction is kind of like a teenage daughter (I have two) “Oh DAD! You just don’t understand me”. A lack of understanding is a foundation for trouble. Maybe we can’t understand our teenagers, but we can understand Autonomous Transactions a little better.”


Some documentation news from the DB2 world. On Build your Skill on DB2, Susan Visser announces the availability of an electronic edition of Carlton Doe’s IBM Informix Dynamic Server: The Next Generation OLTP Data Server Technology — for free!

Troy Coleman, the DB2tor, offers a book review of DB2 9 for Linux, Unix and Windows DBA Guide.

On Getting the Most out of DB2 . . . , Willie Favero covers recently updated DB2 manuals.

The DB2 Diary from Radhesh has some tips and techniques on string aggregation, and a wish-list item.

SQL Server

Jamie Thomson, the SSIS Junkie has the sixth part and the seventh part of his series on Data Profiling Task.

Bob Beauchemin has a couple examples of what he calls feature synergy in SQL Server 2008: “SQL Server 2005 introduced some new features that left “traditional” SQL folks puzzled. What’s the hidden use for SQLCLR? Or the XML data type? Or Service Broker? Besides being available to you as a programmer, these are all used internally.”

Does order matter in a JOIN clause? The question is answered in full by Joe Webb and his readers.

And that is all. As always, I invite you to publish an edition of Log Buffer yourself, email me, the Log Buffer coordinator, and join the fun.

Until next time, cheers!

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About the Author

Dave Edwards is the Communications Specialist for the Pythian Group.

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