Conference notes

Cool ideas from the conference:

  1. Having same binary logs with same positions on slaves as on masters. This allows switching the database master a DNS-change (or IP takeover) operation. — Google
  2. Reading replication logs and prefetching data in parallel on slaves before replication events get executed. This way data is preheated for upcoming changes and serial updating thread works much faster. Especially useful on slightly delayed slaves. — Youtube
  3. For generating unique IDs for distributed environment use separate set of servers, without any replication, but with auto-increment offsets. This can be separate from core database and quite efficient. — Flickr
  4. Let’s get some beer. — Colleagues at MySQL AB

One of core messages I was trying to spread was “Relax. World is not going to end in case you lose a transaction.” I’m not sure how cool it was, but some nice folks out there said it was expiring. In many cases running a project has to be fun first, and most motivating targets should be the priority.
There still were ideas that had counter-arguments (of course, every situation may have different needs). One of discussions I bumped into was about using big services Out There (such as Amazon S3) instead of building your own datacenters – I didn’t end up convinced, but of course it is interesting to investigate if really costs can be lower.
Some more notes:

  • At the Flickr presentation there was someone asking why is Flickr using Yahoo’s search backend instead of rolling out anything Lucene-based. Lucene seemed to be the buzzword always in the air – though I had nice conversations with Sphinx developer too. Still, if I’d be commercial entity owned by Yahoo, I’d really reuse top-notch technology developed in other Y! departments, rather than use open source project, created by… Yahoo’s employee in free time.
  • Every time I heard someone was using NetApp Filers, I cried. Probably it is very good technology, but last time I checked prices, it was quite expensive… And someone mentioned it becomes slightly pain to ensure all the business continuity.
  • Open Source Systems were demonstrating pretty cool (literally too) dual-motherboard servers – promised lower prices and much lower energy consumption. Interesting.
  • Dolphin interconnect people said 10g-ethernet is not solving the network delay problem, and they’ll live for a while.
  • HP people were showcasing blade technology, though they avoided filling the enclosure with blades and loading them – would be quite a noise generator in the expo hall. We did discuss the unfair listprices by major hardware vendors – industry sucks at this place.
  • Heikki joked, people laughed, even few times. At the ‘clash of DB gurus’ Heikki mentioned he’d like to see Wikipedia still running on InnoDB after 20 years. It made me wonder what kind of data architectures will people use in 20 years.
  • Nobody solved the speed of light problem yet.
  • .org pavillion showcased the core products out there, especially in web publishing (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla), and workflow (Eventum, OTRS, Bugzilla, dotproject).
  • All scaling talks generally choose standard solutions and spend engineering on them. Didn’t see anything breathtaking, but of course, that may be still hidden part of technology.
  • I’d like to come back next year again. Again.

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