MySQL Conference, Day 4 (being written well after the fact)

As I said at the end of the Day 3 post, I did well enough at the Ignite session that I "won" the opportunity to give it again. There was some confusion about the right time to be seated, and some of the "winners" were not actually properly informed of what they had "won". Fortunately, IM conversations sorted most of it out, and Gerry, Sarah, Gillian, and myself reprised our talks.

I got the opportunity to take notes at the MySQL Ecosystem Summit, but instead spent the time taking in a few more sessions. It was a hard choice, and from what I learned later about the cool discussions at the summit, I think I may have made the wrong choice.

There were some sessions I was glad to have gone to, however. The best was Paul Vallee's "Worst Practices of Database Outsourcing Infrastructure Support", which was an excellent "peopleware" presentation on, well, exactly what it says on the tin, how to have a good or bad relationship between a client and an IT shop.

The rest of the time was spent socializing, networking, "hallway tracking", chatting with the Amazon AWS RDS folks, and so forth. The sort of thing that conferences like this are really for.


Memcache is "Elastic", not just "Distributed"

In this article, the Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri draws a useful distinction between "local cache", "distributed cache", and "elastic cache".

He then places Memcached firmly into Distributed Cache catagory.

No living technology holds still, and Memcached is no exception. Memcached did start out as just a distributed hash, but there has been a lot of work by many smart people to make it elastic as well.

I work for Gear6, which makes a Memcached server that has a number of neat "enterprise" features, one of which is elastic resizing, which we call "dynamic services". You can resize in a datacenter by adding more units and resizing into them, and even neater, you can resize "in the cloud", on Amazon EC2. You go to the UI, tell it to expand the cluster, and it will spin up more EC2 instances itself, and then expand into them.


MySQL Conference, Day 3

The day started out with 3 keynotes: Brian Aker, Michael Widenius, and Sheeri Cabral.

Brian gave his "The Drizzle Story" talk, which I tweeted via @drizzledb. Then Monty spoke about about Monty Program AB and MariaDB, which is his continuing work on his fork of MySQL. Following them both was an excellent talk from Sheeri about how the community interaction model will continue to work in this Oracle era.

I went to my employer's Gear6's session done with Answers.com. Answers is a top 20 web site, and is the 2nd fastest growing one, after Facebook. It was fun to see their performance and scaling numbers, and how they are using Gear6's memcached product, especially how two 1U G6 boxes replaced an entire rack of 20 2U memcached servers.

I also really enjoyed the Facebook operations session, and also Matt Yonkovit's NoSQL characterization and benchmarking talk.

I talked to a lot of people about Memcached, and about Gear6, and about NoSQL.

The big event for me was the Ignite session. I got there a touch late, Sarah Novotny was already giving her "Backups Don't Make Me Money" talk. Gillian Gunson gave a really good talk "Rules for DBAs", and then after Brian Aker gave his famous NoSQL talk, I gave my responding session as the last Ignite. I hit it really well, and Sarah and Gillian and I all "won", which means we all get to do our Ignites again the next morning as part of final day keynote.


Interviewed by Scoble about Gear6 Memcached

Yesterday, while at the MySQL Conference, I was interviewed by Robert Scoble about my employer, Gear6 and our product, an enterprise memcached distribution.

MySQL Conference, Day 2

While waiting in the line for a breakfast table, I found Reggie Burnett, who is still with MySQL now Oracle. We shared a table and talking about Android and the future of handhelds.

I missed the keynotes by Edward Screven and by Tim O'Reilly. Instead I had scheduled interviews with The 451 Group and then with Robert Scoble. Those both went really well. And I learned that the Screven speech went not so well, which would have been amusing, but not a good use of time.

The rest of the day, so far, has consisted of meeting people, spending time at the Memcached.org booth and the Gear6 booth, and doing more scheduled tech press interviews. Sarah Novotny showed up during the nosh and free beer, right before the BOF sessions.

I attended BOF session for "How To Use Memcached", which unfortunately is scheduled at the same time as the Drizzle BOF. Most memcached BOFs in past years have been very rarified hackathons and protocol design sessions. This one was a "there are no stupid questions" style Q&A for interested novices.


MySQL Conference, Day 1

I checked in in the speaker lounge and picked up my bag of shwag. This year O'Reilly is giving speakers some free books, slide:ology and Confessions of a Public Speaker . It makes sense for them to give these books to their speakers, as the better the speakers are, the better the conference is, and the more successful O'Reilly is at getting more conference business.

I spent the first part of the day fielding scheduled calls with members of the tech press about Gear6's new release of our Memcached Server.

Over lunch I picked a random table, and had a good conversation with a bunch of "ordinary attendees", people who are not "known names", but came to the conference to attend tutorials and sessions, and actually learn how to use this stuff. Most had been to Sheeri's tutorial about MySQL configuration, but the ones about Replication by Mats Kindahl & Lars Thalman, and the one about Performance Tuning by Baron Schwartz and Morgan Tocker were also popular.

The Drizzle project had a two different tutorials, merged together, about joining the project and about writing replication plugins and storage plugins, presented by Padrig, Jay, and Toru, and it inspired me more to get back into hacking on Drizzle. While there I hecked Monty Taylor (who was sitting a row behind me) via IRC into fixing the instructions for installing on Ubuntu.

Later that afternoon, by the hotel bar, I finally met again Gillian Gunison. She and I first met at this conference 4 years ago, and then have kept in touch swapping technical problems back and forth over IM since then.

The annual community dinner was huge, overfilling the space at Pedro's.


MySQL Conference, Day 0

After spending the morning looking over photographs with the amazingly talented Julian Cash, I drove through the pouring rain from San Francisco to the SJC airport, to pick up Brian Aker. From there, to the convention center, where I linked up with Monty Taylor, Jay Pipes, Stewart Smith, and a number of other people involved in Drizzle and Memcached. And from there, we all headed over to Sarah Sproehnle's place for a potluck party.

So much of the history and development of technology is based on a foundation of personal relationships. The people working on stuff get to know each other, and form friendships outside of just the work, and they introduce each other to their other friends, and from that, connections and cross-fertilization of ideas happen.

This is especially true for open source software and all the aspects of internet technology. The real but mostly unstated reason for technical conferences is exactly that. We could just learn from books, articles, and maybe classrooms. But it wouldn't be enough.

The hallway track, the conversations over beer, the friendships formed, the "networking", and the defusing of tension by seeing faces, seeing old friends, and making new ones. That is the value.

This is my fourth MySQL Conference. The first keynote is in 12 hours.

This is going to be fun!


The IETF, and membership via corporation

The IETF is the standards body that describes and defines the basic protocols that make the internet work. There is a lot of basic knowledge and community wisdom "baked in" to the IETF process, and much of what makes the IETF work is how it is very different from other standards bodies (such as IEEE, ANSI, ISO, NIST, ITU, etc etc).

One key difference is that "groups" do not join the IETF. Cisco Systems or IBM is not a "member" of the IETF. No agency of the US government, or of any other government, is a "member" of the IETF. No university, or non-profit, or even "concerned citizens group", is a "member" of the IETF.

Only individual people can be "members" of the IETF. And "membership" is mostly defined as "who shows up on the mailing list" and "who shows up at the meetings".

There have been many cases in the history of the IETF where well known members who are in the middle of writing standards or of chairing various important working groups, who have worked for well known large companies, will change employers, to other companies, to startups, switch around between industry, universities, research labs, and government, and this will not, does not, and should not, affect their position inside the IETF at all.

Sometimes people, inside and outside of the IETF, need to be reminded of this.

If you want to write standards in the IEEE and ITU style, you know where you can find it. When you are writing standards inside the IETF, that is how it works.