Forums.MySQL.Com as a gym for mental exercise

The MySQL Forums seem to be have been around forever. There are groups for announcements, performance, InnoDB, Cluster, Replication, Certification, Events, questions in German, partitioning, and just under a hundred MySQL related subjects in total. Most folks in the MySQLverse seem to regularly lurk in one or more of the forums. There area great source of information and sometimes humor. But are you using the forums to help build your MySQL mental muscle? Ask yourself how would you solve the problem or how would you guide a junior DBA or developer to fix an issue posted in a forum.

Try reading the groups that are not in your regular reading list. Is there a question in there you can not answer even after a peek at the documentation?

After running MySQL for a few years, it is easy to skip over the problems of novices found in the Newbie section. But like the old story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, a new set of eyes can point out things we do not notice. Recently someone in the Newbie group wanted to set up a round robin for inserts over eight disks in an attempt to get 8x performance gain. Hmmm, if that did scale would it scale linearly(1) or close to it? Too bad I do not have the hardware or spare cycles to give it a try.

Or question on how to remove a ‘width=xxx’ pattern from a text field. Hmm, the old GIGO rules would dictate that some sort of ETL tool or script remove the unwanted chaff before it goes into the database. Do you use regular expressions in a PHP, Perl, or Java hack? Could a column oriented editor let you WYSIWYG the data? Maybe a trigger on insert that culls the unwanted width data? Hey, does your data have anything hidden in a text filed that should not be there and how best to get rid of it?

So read through a few forums and use them to exercise you mind. And if you see something in a question that you can answer, please do so.

  1. Nothing scales linearly that you need to scale linearly. At least not on your budget and or schedule.

One Response to Forums.MySQL.Com as a gym for mental exercise

  1. Ben Altman says:

    With regard to your comment about linear scalability, which is sadly true, I’ve been playing around with various open source NoSQL solutions and I wanted to add that despite the fairy tales that NoSQL is supposed to be easily, linearly scalable, the reality is a bit different, which should be comforting for us MySQL folks. For example, in MongoDB ( the sharding procedure is so complex that the documentation recommends not doing it unless absolutely necessary. In the very popular Redis (, the cluster feature is in Alpha version and it is unknown when it will be released – albeit there is a proprietary implementation of Redis Cluster ( but it costs money. So in comparison to these shaky scalability options I think the highly mature MySQL cluster is miles ahead, and for most real-world use cases (putting Facebook and Google aside) it will be near enough to linear scalability compared with any NoSQL solution.

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