Posts Tagged ‘mysqlconf’

Video: Interview with Marc Delisle, of the phpMyAdmin project

I caught up with Marc Delisle (we have a relatively old interview with him on the MySQL DevZone) recently, and got him to give us an introduction to phpMyAdmin, the several books he’s written, and how the project gets new features from the Google Summer of Code. What’s really impressive? They continue winning awards (Marc won one from MySQL in 2009 as well!), and have a user base of nearly 18.5 million (this is downloads — not just users, considering how common it is in shared hosting environments). Watch the video for more.

Video: Interview with Microsoft’s PHP Evangelist

I caught up with Zach Skyles Owens, a PHP Evangelist at Microsoft. If you missed the embed, watch the video. I have some sparse notes below.

I learned some new things:

  • Microsoft spends time working with the PHP community
  • They are porting applications to work with an SQL Server backend
  • They are ensuring that the language should “just work”, with the IIS and SQL Server stack. This is quite different from the usual AMP (Apache = server, MySQL = database, PHP = language) stack that we’re quite accustomed to.
  • There is a Microsoft Web Platform, and there’s a Web Application Gallery, that brings in dependencies that you need, to use popular open source software packages.
  • Drupal for example, is a featured application, for the PHP on IIS stack. If the software allows, it brings in SQL Server Express Edition; otherwise, it even brings in MySQL!

Video: Interview with some of the folk behind

I had the pleasure of having a quick video interview with Chuck Hagenbuch and Leigh Heyman, both from Blue State Digital, and people that helped run the campaign. They’re giving the closing keynote at the MySQL Conference & Expo 2009 alongside three engineers from Google, and its going to be great.

If you missed the embed, here’s the video. Don’t forget to see them, at their closing keynote titled Database We Can Believe In: Stories from the Front Lines (and Server Rooms) of Barack Obama’s Online Presidential Campaign.

Conversations at the MySQL Conference

Today, for me is day 1 of the MySQL Confernece & Expo 2009. It seems to be going pretty well – and its only 2.45pm.

If you follow Planet MySQL, or happen to just have random conversations with people, the main buzz for the day is “Oracle buying Sun”. But let me not bore you with that. I just want to log some of my interesting conversations.

Over lunch I had a good discussion with users of MySQL, and one potential user of MySQL (his company uses Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase, and are now looking at MySQL). We talked about quite a number of things:

  • The documentation (which I, and the rest of the MySQL users use) seems to not be complete for an Oracle person. Why? It seems we’re missing out on things like the models. We lack enough theory. People would like to “see” (visually) what the InnoDB buffer pool does, not just read about it. In fact, it also seems like we might need to be clearer with the use of commands. And for the first time, I have found out that if you’re coming from an Oracle background, you might find the comments at the end of the manual, to be kind of confusing — also, some believe the comments are irrelevant and misguide you. Wow! I mean, this is open source, we’d like the manual to also be kind of open source… ;)
  • There seems to be a misconception amongst potential users that MySQL is only great for the Web. It fails in everything enterprise related. I know, if you’re reading this, you’re thinking this is just insane – but think again – if you’re reading this, I’m preaching to the choir. MySQL is Enterprise ready, but I think the message needs to reach out to the greater community. Heck, if you’re showing up to the conference, kudos, we’ve reached you, but its just a drop in the ocean.
  • Backups. “Why is it that you have to pay for ibbackup? This stuff is supposed to be free.” Well, the open source advocates still need to reach out further. The argument that once you start paying for MySQL Enterprise, and once you start paying for hot backups, you start realising that the database is costing you more than you need. I brought up the point that even if you use Linux, you do pay for subscriptions — but the argument back was that you can at least figure out how to do it for free. True, but its similar in MySQL land — you’ve got mylvmbackup, you could setup a replication slave and use that for backups, there are third party tools like Zmanda’s backup one, and if you wait for MySQL 6, there will also be online backup. Anyway, this isn’t about backups – its about paying for open source software.
  • I know that a big network in Russia, with over 22 million users, use MySQL 4.1. The DBA goes forth and basically tells their developers not to use a lot of features, and they’ve managed to skirt around it, with no problem.
  • Libraries use MySQL.

For many, this is their first MySQL Conference. For some, they’ve been coming on-and-off since 2005.

Tutorial quality? If you follow Twitter, you’ll know that some people enjoy their tutorials, while some don’t. Most don’t want to be in a tutorial, in where the speaker talks about everything on the slide deck — because that’s something you can do yourself by sitting at home. People want a mix of war stories. I think this alone is pretty good advice for speakers. But always remember, you can’t always please everyone.

Cloudera’s tutorial in the afternoon was most amazing — you had to watch a bunch of videos, get a VM ready, and a lot more preparation. They went to, in quite some depth about the Facebook architecture (Amy Lin, from Facebook was surprised how much they knew — I suggested that, most of the information is mostly public anyway). This didn’t seem like a tutorial to attend if you were new to Hadoop, and if you’d not completed the prep, you might have been left out.

Sheeri and Patrick spent a lot of time in the shell, and inside MySQL. But I learned quite a bit about metadata.

I wish I took down more notes, but there’s some level of running around that I was required to do.

Follow @MySQLConf on Twitter. The Twitter serach for mysqlconf is also good for the “streaming river of information”.

Did I already mention people talking about Oracle buying Sun? Everyone is wondering about the future of MySQL and more. Its all just speculation people. Wait and see. That’s the most informed approach. I can respect that analysts have opinions, but it doesn’t mean anything. I like Marten’s candid response, though. Marten knows how to get a message across.

Power. Power is being rolled out in all rooms, there should be power plugs in every three rows. But that seemed to be an issue. The Internet mostly works, things are “fixed”, so you should be able to suck mail via IMAP, and connect elsewhere via SSH.

Oh, I met up with Chuck Hagenbuch and Leigh Heyman, who are giving the closing keynote from the Obama team. The Googler’s are a little busy, and will be around on Thursday, and the closing keynote titled “Database We Can Believe In: Stories from the Front Lines (and Server Rooms) of Barack Obama’s Online Presidential Campaign” is going to rock.

Whom else did I meet? What other interesting conversations did I have? I hope I remember to script them down. After all, conferences are made with conversations. And conversations are social networking 1.0. Have them.

/me is about to run for a conference call right about now, and its only mid-day. So many more great conversations await :-) Career fair, booze at the bar, what more can I ask for?
(ok, I can ask for everything to just run smoothly over the next few days. And I hope everyone has a ball of a time!)

Its a storage engine world, after all…

While Zack covered the storage engine and appliances sessions pretty well, I feel he’s missed out on a few important new engines (or engine related talks):

Lots of storage engine talks, no? Well, there are even related tutorials, so if storage engines catch your fancy, check out the storage engine talks in the schedule.

A few other picks: Monty talking about Maria will definitely be a crowd puller, as well as Kevin Lewis talking about the Falcon storage engine. You might also find that the architecture of ScaleDB interesting. And don’t forget the myriad of talks that are InnoDB related. Read: People are Talkin’ … about InnoDB, Talk,Talk, Talk: Innobase Speaks, and … and Who Could Forget Mark Callaghan?.

The MySQL Conference first timer’s guide from an old-timer

This is a “first-timer’s” guide to the MySQL Conference & Expo 2009. It is by no means official, but are things I think are somewhat important. Its broken down into sections: What days to attend, What to bring, Laptop, Blogging, Twittering, etc…, Be Social, The Attendee Directory, Evenings, and Did I miss something? Its long, but do bear with me — its just some friendly advice after attending this conference for quite the number of years.

What days to attend

The conference runs from Monday to Thursday. Monday is tutorial day, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are days where you have the conference proper.

Tuesday and Wednesday are days the Expo Hall is open. Go there, visit the place, learn about the ecosystem, and probably walk away with goodies while you’re at it. Don’t forget the DotOrg Pavilion, as there are plenty of open source projects that showcase their wares.

On Monday, you’ll also notice the career fair. If you’re looking for a job, this is the place to be. Bring a resume, bring plenty of business cards (make some, its not that complicated), and soak in the atmosphere.

If all that wasn’t enough, you’ve also got MySQL Camp running in parallel. On Monday, there’s a hackfest with Mark Callaghan of Google fame — if you’ve wanted to be a MySQL hacker, this should be a great start. On Tuesday – Thursday, MySQL Camp is happening, and there’s plenty of sessions. Did I mention that this event is completely free?

Know that there are plenty of events and parties, where you can enjoy free canap̩s, and drink Рalways keep the event schedule handy.

And oops, I almost forgot, there’s also a Performance Conference on Wednesday and Thursday. So keep in mind that there are up to ten tracks for you to attend on Wednesday and Thursday.

At nights, don’t forget the Birds of a Feather sessions. These happen on Tuesday and Wednesday night, and we’ve had sessions in the past go in till past midnight (2am seemed to have been the kicker, one year).

What to bring

The dress code is pretty casual. Its California, t-shirt, shorts, and sandals will suffice. Otherwise, I’ve seen folk mostly be in smart casual attire. Or just plain t-shirt and jeans. Your mileage will vary. Just remember to be comfortable, as the days are long, and you’ll want to be at your best no matter what. Seven in the morning starts, that end at two in the morning the next day is pretty overwhelming for the body, so wear comfortable clothes and footwear.

Also, bring along:

  • Business cards – these can be with your company, or personal ones that you create (have your name, email address, URL, and whatever else seems significant). One of the biggest gains of being at the conference is the networking aspect of it. Think of it as social networking, in person. Make connections. Immediately go forth and add them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or shoot them an email — don’t let the business cards sit and rot.
  • ID – this is America, and if you’re planning on drinking, some kind of ID will be useful. Even at the Expo Hall reception, they tend to ask for ID when you order a beer
  • Laptop
  • Thumb drive – you might need this during the tutorial day, and it will serve for easy exchange of stuff


You need one. The certification exams for example, don’t have any paper this year. Some tutorials are “live”, and require a working laptop, with a MySQL installation. If you’re going to be at the hackfest, without a laptop, you’re not going to have as much fun. If you want to follow other talks on IRC or Twitter, a laptop is probably required.

Having a laptop is not a requirement, but it will make your experience a lot better.

Power sockets will be available throughout the conference, but keep in mind that they may be scarce. You may not always be plugged in. If you’re coming in from overseas, you’ll need American styled power adapters — if you’re using an international one, try not to get one that is too oversized (in where it takes about two or three slots of the power board). I only mention this because I too have been guilty of such an act!

Since you’ll be moving around a lot, try and bring a light laptop. Lugging a 17″ laptop is not going to be fun, seeing the frequency of you shifting rooms. One of those netbooks are sounding better all the time.

There will be WiFi at the conference. Remember to be careful with security when using an open wireless connection. If you have access to SSH somewhere, think about tunnelling your traffic — better be safe than sorry.

Don’t upload gigabytes worth of files. Be nice to your fellow conference attendees. BitTorrent really should not be tolerated, and just keep in mind that you’re sharing bandwidth with a couple thousand folk.

Blogging, Twittering, etc.

When blogging or Twittering, tag it, so we can find it. Heck, do the same even when you’re uploading photos to sites like Flickr. Popular tags include: mysqlconf09, mysqlconf, mysqlce, mysqlce09. If its tagged “mysqlconf09”, it tends to get picked up by our feed, and placed at sensible areas.

Don’t forget to read Planet MySQL. You might like to read it in a feed reader, because the posts just get really crazy around this time with all the live blogging and so forth.

Be social

I spoke earlier about business cards and the need to carry them around. If you didn’t print any, there are at least four Fedex Kinko’s within a four mile radius of the hotel. Get some.

But being social means speaking to people in person. Not just hanging out on IRC and chatting — or always being behind your keyboard. When you meet someone, remember to talk to them! You never know what interesting stuff you will have to share with them. Opening lines include:

  • What sessions have you been to so far
  • What sessions are you going for next
  • What does the company do? What do they do?

Don’t talk to the same people all the time. In fact, there’s an unspoken rule that you should never find two MySQL’ers on the same lunch table. The whole idea is to spread the love, and to allow a lot of mingling.

The Attendee Directory

In the past, we printed a “Who’s who” list. People tended to lose these after going home, and you could never find them a year later. This year, you can participate in what is known as Attendee Networking. Its pretty cool, do check it out – Attendee Directory. You can setup your personal profile, comment on and evaluate sessions (we will value this stuff greatly), create a list of contacts, mark people you want to meet, send messages to other attendees, let others find you on Twitter, and so on.

This is by far, the coolest feature of the conference. It allows conference attendees to create a social network amongst themselves. Its opt-in, but I definitely think you’d be missing out, if you don’t opt-in! So far we have about 900 attendees that have already opted in. I want to see this number grow!


Besides all the events and parties (go to the Expo Hall, you’ll find out about parties nearby even), the hotel has a bar, that serves liquor to late. But pace yourself — don’t drink more than you would normally do.

Did I miss something?

I’m sure I did. I wrote this when the Internet access in my hotel wouldn’t work. Write a comment. Maybe we’ll beat this up into a “proper” guide for future conferences.

Most of all, remember to have fun! And learn lots! Happy conference!