A Tale of Two Conferences

Big BenLast week was a bumper week in London for MySQL users, DBAs & developers. We had the Oracle MySQL Developer Day and Percona Live London 2011. Both events were sold out, bringing in a good 300+ people to each event. From what I could tell the crowds were quite unique, so thats a good 600+ people interested in MySQL in London. The death and unpopularity of MySQL is greatly exaggerated.

At Oracle’s event, we naturally only had Oracle presenters. There was Simon Deighton (Sales Manager), Tony Holmes (Sales Consultant), Luca Olivari (Sales Consulting EMEA from the MySQL days), Andrew Morgan & Mat Keep for MySQL Cluster & High Availability. The event was actually pretty good if you were a MySQL beginner to intermediate user (that seemed to be the target audience — about 1 person was playing with 5.6, and about 1% of the audience was already using 5.5). The Q&A sessions were of high calibre, and answers obviously only pointed towards Oracle products.

At Percona’s event, we had wide and varied speakers, but an absence of Oracle. The crowd were already users of MySQL who wanted to get a lot more out of the database servers. It also served five tracks, so attendees had a lot of choice and value to choose from. There was an absence of beginner-centric talks, so one could get lost quite easily if you were sent there just for training. I already said I had an awesome time there.

The way I see it is Percona Live was meant for practitioners, while the Oracle MySQL Developer Day was meant for beginners to intermediate users of MySQL (they were probably already experienced Oracle DBAs). These kind of events are both important as you get a spread spectrum of people attending conferences. You can never really please all attendees at a large event, and in many ways it is always a balance you strike at large events like the O’Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo.

All in, London was abuzz with MySQL. Both events were out in the Tower Hill area. It is clear that MySQL and its diaspora are alive and kicking, and its quite possible the community of users are also growing.