MySQL Marinate for the Holiday Season

Just a friendly reminder that you can pick up MySQL Marinate whenever you want! You can use the master list at http://www.meetup.com/Virtual-Tech-Self-Study/messages/boards/thread/38423162 for reference – just ignore the dates and work at your own pace!

We found that very few people were taking the dates to heart, so we stopped trying to organize around them. The message boards are still valid, so feel free to ask if you have any questions – we are here to help!

The above was a quick note from Sheeri Cabral about the wonderful MySQL Marinate program that arrived in my email. This is a great way for novices to learn MySQL and for old war horses to find some new insights.

Does MySQL need a mentoring program?

Does MySQL need a mentoring program? I get calls, emails, and other requests for trained MySQL DBAs and Developers. Human Resources, managers, team leads, and entrepreneurs have the need but can not find the bodies. It is easy enough to download MySQL, get it running, and use it. But the next steps seem problematic for many. There are programs like MySQL Marinate and Girl Develop It to provide some hands on help for beginners. Autodidacts can find tons of MySQL Books and on line information. But how do we take the beginners and get them to intermediate or beyond?

How do we support these new comers, give them a hand if needed, a shoulder to cry on, or just provide someone who has been there before to bounce ideas around when needed? How do we pull them into social networks to warn them of pitfalls, pass on information about new technologies, or just be there as a friendly voice when the air movement device is being impacted by non optimal material? How do we pass on best practices, professional guidance, and the norms of our community? There is only so much forums, IRC, and Stack Overflow can handle. Local users groups are good if you have a local user group.

A good place to start is to see what other Open Source projects are doing. PHP Mentorting is a formal, personal, long term, peer to peer mentorship organization focused on creating networks of skilled developers from all walks of life. Read their info and let me know if you think the MySQL Community needs something similar.

Being a mentor has benefits too. There is an old saying that you really do not know a subject until you can pass on your knowledge to someone else. It also helps bring along someone who could replace you if you decided to climb the corporate ladder. Plus you never know what you fledgling might teach you.

So do we need a MySQL mentoring program?

Containing your MySQL Instances

Virtual servers for MySQL are popular but are they the answer? Should we be containing our instances instead. An Updated Performance Comparison of
Virtual Machines and Linux Containers
is an interesting study of using containers over VMs by four brilliant folk from IBM Research in Austin. There are several benefits to containers that are detailed in the study.

So what is wrong with VMs? IBM has been using them since the 1970s. Well, VMs have a static number of virtual CPUs (vCPU) and a fixed amount of RAM that bound performance. And each vCPU can only use up to one real CPUs of clock cycles. Since each VM is a Linux process, resource management like the scheduler come into play.

Containers? They are built on the kernel namespaces. A container acts like its own little Linux box but shares the overhead with other containers and the host. Stuff ‘inside’ the container can not see outside. Containers can be set up to use resources between them. Plus they can be constrained to only use a defined amount of resources such as CPU, memory and I/O.

A good part of the study looks at using MySQL on native hardware, KVM, and three Docker configurations. It is very interesting that throughput with Docker was close to native hardware and much less overhead than the KVM. SysBench shows that KVm hs much higer overhead 40%+ in ll cases. It appears that the container loses 1.5% CPU utilization.

So maybe we need to stop spinning up VMs and start deploying containers. More on this later.

Changes in MySQL 5.6.20

The MySQL Release Notes should be part of any DBA’s regular reading list. The Changes in MySQL 5.6.20 came out last week and there are some interesting goodies.

  • MySQL now includes DTrace support on Oracle Linux 6 or higher with UEK kernel.
  • A new system variable binlog_impossible_mode controls what happens if the server cannot write to the binary log, for example, due to a file error.
  • The mysqlhotcopy utility is now deprecated and will be removed in a future version of MySQL

5.6.20 has a slew of bug fixes, functionality changes, and notes.

So why should you be reading the changes on a regular basis? There isa goldmine of information in them. For instance, if you use blobs, consider this:

Important Change: Redo log writes for large, externally stored BLOB fields could overwrite the most recent checkpoint. The 5.6.20 patch limits the size of redo log BLOB writes to 10% of the redo log file size. The 5.7.5 patch addresses the bug without imposing a limitation. For MySQL 5.5, the bug remains a known limitation.

As a result of the redo log BLOB write limit introduced for MySQL 5.6, innodb_log_file_size should be set to a value greater than 10 times the largest BLOB data size found in the rows of your tables plus the length of other variable length fields (VARCHAR, VARBINARY, and TEXT type fields). Failing to do so could result in “Row size too large” errors. No action is required if your innodb_log_file_size setting is already sufficiently large or your tables contain no BLOB data. (Bug #16963396, Bug #19030353, Bug #69477)

That is golden information for those of us who used a lot of blobs and great info for configuring servers.

Triggers — MySQL 5.6 and 5.7

MySQL Triggers are changing in 5.7 in a big way. Triggers have been around since 5.0 and have not changed much up to 5.6 but will gain the ability to have multiple triggers on the same event. Previously you had ONE trigger maximum on a BEFORE UPDATE, for example, and now you can have multiple triggers and set their order.

So what is a trigger? Triggers run either BEFORE or AFTER an UPDATE, DELETE, or INSERT is performed. You also get access to the OLD.col_name and NEW.col_name variables for the previous value and the newer value of the column.

So how do you use a trigger? Let say you are updating the price of an inventory item in a product database with a simple UPDATE statement. But you also want to track when the price change and the old price.

The table for products.
CREATE TABLE products (id INT NOT NULL auto_increment,
price DECIMAL(5,2) NOT NULL,
PRIMARY KEY (id));

The table for price changes on the product table.
CREATE TABLE products_log (id INT NOT NULL,
price DECIMAL(5,2) NOT NULL,
change_date timestamp);

Now to define a trigger that will log price changes. We do this when a price is updated. Now the use od OLD.price to avoid confusion between the old price or the new price being saved in the log.
DELIMITER |
CREATE TRIGGER product_price_logger
BEFORE UPDATE ON products
FOR EACH row
BEGIN
INSERT INTO products_log (id, price)
VALUES (id, OLD.PRICE);
END
|
DELIMITER ;

Add in some data.
INSERT INTO products (price) VALUES (1.10),(2.24),(.99),(.01),(.34);

So UPDATE a record.
UPDATE products SET price='1.11' WHERE ID = 1;

So did it work? Yes, and no. Running SELECT * FROM products_log; Provides us with a time stamp of the change and the OLD.price. But I forgot to also record the id!! Challenge: Correct my mistake and compare it to an update I will make in a few days.

Now 5.7 introduces multiple triggers for the same event. Lets add yet another log this time recording who made the change;

The ‘who made the change table’.
CREATE table who_changed (
id INT NOT NULL,
who_did_it CHAR(30) NOT NULL,
when_did_it TIMESTAMP);

And the second trigger.
DELIMITER |
CREATE TRIGGER product_price_whom
BEFORE UPDATE ON products
FOR EACH ROW
FOLLOWS product_price_logger
BEGIN
INSERT INTO who_changed (id, who_did_it)
VALUES (OLD.id, user());
END
|
DELIMITER ;

So UPDATE products SET price='19.99' WHERE id=4; is run and we see that both triggers execute. Note that SHOW TRIGGERS from schema; does not provide any information on trigger order. But you can find all that as action_order in PERFORMANCE_SCHEMA.TRIGGERS

Being able to order triggers makes it easy to make logical steps when processing data. Can you get into trouble with this? I am certain someone will manage to make a mess with this. But I think most of us will enjoy being able to use this great new functionality.

MySQL in Chicago Next Week!

MySQL is the proud Training Sponsor of PHPTek. This is a great event and I am speaking on Exploiting New MySQL Features on the morning of the 23rd. See you at training day on the 19th!

And do not forget the Chicago MySQL Users Group meeting on the 21st. Yes, there will be pizza at 6:30 but RSVP so we know how much to order.

Oracle Offices
233 South Wacker Dr.
45th Floor
Chicago, IL