April 16, 2015

                              Notes on indexes and index-like structures

                              Indexes are central to database management.

                              Perhaps it’s time for a round-up post on indexing. ??

                              1. First, let’s review some basics. Classically:

                              2. Further:? Read more

                              April 10, 2015

                              MariaDB and MaxScale

                              I chatted with the MariaDB folks on Tuesday. Let me start by noting:

                              The numbers around MariaDB are a little vague. I was given the figure that there were ~500 customers total, but I couldn’t figure out what they were customers for. Remote DBA services? MariaDB support subscriptions? Something else? I presume there are some customers in each category, but I don’t know the mix. Other notes on MariaDB the company are:

                              MariaDB, the company, also has an OEM business. Part of their pitch is licensing for connectors — specifically LGPL — that hopefully gets around some of the legal headaches for MySQL engine suppliers.

                              MaxScale is a proxy, which starts out by intercepting and parsing MariaDB queries. Read more

                              November 30, 2014

                              Thoughts and notes, Thanksgiving weekend 2014

                              I’m taking a few weeks defocused from work, as a kind of grandpaternity leave. That said, the venue for my Dances of Infant Calming is a small-but-nice apartment in San Francisco, so a certain amount of thinking about tech industries is inevitable. I even found time last Tuesday to meet or speak with my clients at WibiData, MemSQL, Cloudera, Citus Data, and MongoDB. And thus:

                              1. I’ve been sloppy in my terminology around “geo-distribution”, in that I don’t always make it easy to distinguish between:

                              The latter case can be subdivided further depending on whether multiple copies of the data can accept first writes (aka active-active, multi-master, or multi-active), or whether there’s a clear single master for each part of the database.

                              What made me think of this was a phone call with MongoDB in which I learned that the limit on number of replicas had been raised from 12 to 50, to support the full-replication/latency-reduction use case.

                              2. Three years ago I posted about agile (predictive) analytics. One of the points was:

                              … if you change your offers, prices, ad placement, ad text, ad appearance, call center scripts, or anything else, you immediately gain new information that isn’t well-reflected in your previous models.

                              Subsequently I’ve been hearing more about predictive experimentation such as bandit testing. WibiData, whose views are influenced by a couple of Very Famous Department Store clients (one of which is Macy’s), thinks experimentation is quite important. And it could be argued that experimentation is one of the simplest and most direct ways to increase the value of your data.

                              3. I’d further say that a number of developments, trends or possibilities I’m seeing are or could be connected. These include agile and experimental predictive analytics in general, as noted in the previous point, along with:? Read more

                              August 31, 2013

                              Tokutek’s interesting indexing strategy

                              The general Tokutek strategy has always been:

                              But the details of “writes indexes efficiently” have been hard to nail down. For example, my post about Tokutek indexing last January, while not really mistaken, is drastically incomplete.

                              Adding further confusion is that Tokutek now has two product lines:

                              TokuMX further adds language support for transactions and a rewrite of MongoDB’s replication code.

                              So let’s try again. I had a couple of conversations with Martin Farach-Colton, who:

                              The core ideas of Tokutek’s architecture start: Read more

                              April 22, 2013

                              Notes on TokuDB and GenieDB

                              Last week, I edited press releases back-to-back-to-back for three clients, all with announcements at this week’s Percona Live. The ones with embargoes ending today are Tokutek and GenieDB.

                              Tokutek’s news is that they’re open sourcing much of TokuDB, but holding back hot backup for their paid version. I approve of this strategy — “doesn’t lose data” is an important feature, and well worth paying for.

                              I kid, I kid. Any system has at least a bad way to do backups — e.g. one that involves slowing performance, or perhaps even requires taking applications offline altogether. So the real points of good backup technology are:

                              GenieDB is announcing a Version 2, which is basically a performance release. So in lieu of pretending to have much article-worthy news, GenieDB is taking the opportunity to remind folks of its core marketing messages, with catchphrases such as “multi-regional self-healing MySQL”. Good choice; indeed, I wish more vendors would adopt that marketing tactic.

                              Along the way, I did learn a bit more about GenieDB. In particular:

                              I also picked up some GenieDB company stats I didn’t know before — 9 employees and 2 paying customers.

                              Related links

                              April 14, 2013

                              Introduction to Deep Information Sciences and DeepDB

                              I talked Friday with Deep Information Sciences, makers of DeepDB. Much like TokuDB — albeit with different technical strategies — DeepDB is a single-server DBMS in the form of a MySQL engine, whose technology is concentrated around writing indexes quickly. That said:

                              *For reasons that do not seem closely related to product reality, DeepDB is marketed as if it supports “unstructured” data today.

                              Other NewSQL DBMS seem “designed for big data and the cloud” to at least the same extent DeepDB is. However, if we’re interpreting “big data” to include multi-structured data support — well, only half or so of the NewSQL products and companies I know of share Deep’s interest in branching out. In particular:

                              Edit: MySQL has some sort of an optional NoSQL interface, and hence so presumably do MySQL-compatible TokuDB, GenieDB, Clustrix, and MemSQL.

                              Also, some of those products do not today have the transparent scale-out that Deep plans to offer in the future.

                              Read more

                              April 1, 2013

                              Some notes on new-era data management, March 31, 2013

                              Hmm. I probably should have broken this out as three posts rather than one after all. Sorry about that.

                              Performance confusion

                              Discussions of DBMS performance are always odd, for starters because:

                              But in NoSQL/NewSQL short-request processing performance claims seem particularly confused. Reasons include but are not limited to:

                              MongoDB and 10gen

                              I caught up with Ron Avnur at 10gen. Technical highlights included: Read more

                              February 21, 2013

                              One database to rule them all?

                              Perhaps the single toughest question in all database technology is: Which different purposes can a single data store serve well? — or to phrase it more technically — Which different usage patterns can a single data store support efficiently? Ted Codd was on multiple sides of that issue, first suggesting that relational DBMS could do everything and then averring they could not. Mike Stonebraker too has been on multiple sides, first introducing universal DBMS attempts with Postgres and Illustra/Informix, then more recently suggesting the world needs 9 or so kinds of database technology. As for me — well, I agreed with Mike both times. ??

                              Since this is MUCH too big a subject for a single blog post, what I’ll do in this one is simply race through some background material. To a first approximation, this whole discussion is mainly about data layouts — but only if we interpret that concept broadly enough to comprise:

                              To date, nobody has ever discovered a data layout that is efficient for all usage patterns. As a general rule, simpler data layouts are often faster to write, while fancier ones can boost query performance. Specific tradeoffs include, but hardly are limited to: Read more

                              January 15, 2013

                              Tokutek update

                              Alternate title: TokuDB updates ??

                              Now that I’ve addressed some new NewSQL entrants, namely NuoDB and GenieDB, it’s time to circle back to some more established ones. First up are my clients at Tokutek, about whom I recently wrote:

                              Tokutek turns a performance argument into a functionality one. In particular, Tokutek claims that TokuDB does a much better job than alternatives of making it practical for you to update indexes at OLTP speeds. Hence, it claims to do a much better job than alternatives of making it practical for you to write and execute queries that only make sense when indexes (or other analytic performance boosts) are in place.

                              That’s all been true since I first wrote about Tokutek and TokuDB in 2009. However, TokuDB’s technical details have changed. In particular, Tokutek has deemphasized the ideas that:

                              Rather, Tokutek’s new focus for getting the same benefits is to provide a separate buffer for each node of a b-tree. In essence, Tokutek is taking the usual “big blocks are better” story and extending it to indexes. TokuDB also uses block-level compression. Notes on that include: Read more

                              January 5, 2013

                              NewSQL thoughts

                              I plan to write about several NewSQL vendors soon, but first here’s an overview post. Like “NoSQL”, the term “NewSQL” has an identifiable, recent coiner — Matt Aslett in 2011 — yet a somewhat fluid meaning. Wikipedia suggests that NewSQL comprises three things:

                              I think that’s a pretty good working definition, and will likely remain one unless or until:

                              To date, NewSQL adoption has been limited.

                              That said, the problem may lie more on the supply side than in demand. Developing a competitive SQL DBMS turns out to be harder than developing something in the NoSQL state of the art.

                              Read more

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