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September 2006
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November 2006

MySQL Licenses Hyperic SIGAR Technology


As I hinted at a couple of weeks ago, MySQL has incorporated the SIGAR (System Information Gathering and Reporting) technology into our MySQL Network Monitoring and Advisory Service.  SIGAR gives us a portable way to gether low-level system information so that it can be incorporated into our overall monitoring and advisory service. For example, you can have custom rules and alerts that are based on information from the MySQL Server, from the operating system through SIGAR and so on. 

We've been working with Hyperic for a long time and they have proven to be extremely responsive to any changes needed and in pointing out the best way to leverage the SIGAR API. (That is, they never tell us to RTFM even though sometimes that might be what's called for.)  They've also introduced a new partner program to make it easier for companies to integrate the Hyperic technology into custom solutions.

Hyperic's technology is a lot broader than just the SIGAR API though. They've developed a complete monitoring system that can examine the entire software stack, including open and closed source software.  So if you need to monitor a hybrid environment, say Linux, Apache, WebLogic or Oracle and you don't want to spend the megabucks required to license let alone staff for a Tivoli implementation, then you should look into their full-blown Hyperic HQ monitoring solution.

I'm hoping that the next technology from Hyperic has an even better acronym, like maybe MOJITO?  (Monitoring of Java Instances Through Objects?)  Or perhaps you can come up with even better suggestions for their marketing guys.

Source Closed?


On his blog, Jeff Nolan had a humorous photo from Oracle Open World conference this week.  I've seen some other variations out on Flickr (which as most people probably know is built on the open source LAMP stack and MySQL.)

After months of rumors, Oracle's finally come clean on their Linux strategy.  It's not Debian, it's not Ubuntu, but rather, is based on Red Hat Linux. Its good to see Oracle take an aggressive stand supporting Linux. Oracle has done a lot of good to support the development and popularization of Linux. But I can't help but wonder if Oracle believes so much in open source, why only for the operating system?  Why not the rest of the stack also?  (And does this mean that Oracle will support MySQL as part of its support for Red Hat?  Cool!)

If Oracle gets even more aggressive in promoting Linux I think that will just hasten the adoption of open source further up the stack.  A couple of years ago, I bet that all the major databases would be open source within 10 years. This is another step in the right direction.

Update: I've added a few additional links offering further analysis of Oracle's announcements

Marten on Slashdot


Not sure how many CEOs get coverage on Slashdot, but a few days ago, Marten Mickos did an online interview there.  Sometimes online discussions degenerate into a technological pissing match (such as the venerable "vi vs. emacs" arguments) and I'm glad this one didn't.  Marten talks about issues around software quality, building a business, walking the line between enterprise and community needs and other interesting topics.

Zend Conference Oct 30 - Nov 2


Zend is hosting it's second annual Zend / PHP Conference & Expo on Oct 30 - Nov 2 in San Jose at the Doubletree Hotel.  The program has expanded from last year and includes a full day of tutorials on Monday.  The conference features in-depth technical sessions on topics such as high volume scaling techniques for PHP and MySQL, performance tuning, web services as well as sessions on new capabilities in forthcoming PHP 6. There are also keynotes, case studies and panel sessions.  Zend is one of the major contributors to PHP and they have also developed a great framework that greatly simplifies the development of PHP web applications.

Register before Oct 28 and you can save a couple of hundred bucks of the on-site registration charge.

Missing Vista Features


There's a funny tongue-in-cheek blog posting from a Microsoft employee on some of the features that had to be cut from the forthcoming Windows Vista release.  Originally scheduled to ship in late 2003, Vista will not be available until early 2007.  Good to see that someone at Microsoft still has a sense of humor.  Now if only they would fix remove Windows Genuine Advantage. Or maybe that's part of Microsoft's plan to drive Linux adoption.

Open Source Ice Cream?


It's not free, but its certainly one of the coolest open source based technologies I've read about.  MooBella, of Taunton Massachusetts, has an ice cream making vending machine built on the open source LAMP stack.  In about 45 seconds, the MooBella machine, about the size of an overweight soda machine, churns through the ingredients and delivers a cup of fresh ice cream and a range of flavors and mix-ins.  The MooBella machine features a simple graphical display, self-tuning diagnostics, wireless support, turbulent dynamic mixing and your choice of chocolate chips, walnuts, peanut butter cups or cookies & cream. 

Who says open source doesn't innovate?  It makes me proud to be a MySQLer!

FutureLab's 8 Truths of Innovators


My brother alerted me to a good posting on "The Eight Truths of Real Innovators" from the futurelab blog.  It may be a bit pretentious to call these the "eight truths" but they are certainly thought provoking.  Perhaps readers will come up with their own "truths" to add to this list:

  1. Stop equating innovation to R&D
    Its not about the lab experiment, it's about how you're helping customers.  Innovation doesn't just mean the code; it can be the development model, the business model, the distribution model and more.
  2. Pay people to fail
    It is the risky projects that lead to competitive breakthroughs. Reward people for innovating and don't penalize failure. 
  3. Treat everyone as an innovator
    Don't assume innovation only comes from a few select people.  Give folks the time and space to come up with new ideas. 
  4. Kill bad ideas quickly
    Never fall in love with your own pet projects and don't be afraid to kill things early in the process. It takes a lot of at bats to hit a home run. (European reader alert: this is a baseball analogy.)
  5. Launch first, worry about the shortcomings later
    There will always be people trying to perfect an idea or coming up with reasons why more research is needed.  But in the real world, fast to market trump perfection.  Or as Guy Kawasaki writes: Don't worry, be crappy (as long as you're innovating.)
  6. Don't believe what your customers tell you, dig deeper
    You need to understand the reasons and thinking behind customers actions.
  7. Don't try radical innovation, buy it
    Organisations annilihate any innovation which may undermine the status quo. Real innovators don't pursue radical innovations themselves. They just buy them when a dominant design appears to emerge. Maybe this is why Oracle has been on such an acquisition binge. 
  8. Mix elements that shouldn’t be mixed: Bring non-business or non-product people into the innovation process.

Forrester's Database Initiatives


Noel Yuhanna, database guru over at Forrester Research, has published a new report "Six Database Initiatives That Can Save Money."  Several of the initiatives are directly related to using open source technology and also fit with our recent MySQL Enterprise announcement, especially the new MySQL Network Monitoring & Advisory Service

While it's obvious that eliminating hefty license fees for closed source databases is going to save money, Noel's other ideas can boost the savings even further.  For example, we've seen many customers engage in consolidation or standardization strategy whereby they replace old Informix, Sybase or other obsolete databases with MySQL.  That can reduce administration efforts and the number of servers required. 

Another key area to consider is how to introduce more automation to increase DBA productivity.  Two years ago we started a project, code named Merlin, to make it easier for DBAs to manage dozens or hundreds of MySQL servers.  Those same techniques also help smaller shops where they do not necessarily have the in-depth MySQL expertise, even though they may be experts in Oracle or SQL Server.  Or in some cases, there is no full-time DBA, but rather a combination of developer or sys-admin responsible for the database server.  What the MySQL Network Monitoring & Advisory Service does is provide an at-a-glance dashboard to show the status of all servers, how they're operating and if there's anything that the DBA should look into. The system has a series of Advisors, for example, a Performance Advisor, Replication Advisory, Security Advisor, and so on, and each of these has a set of extensible rules you can use to let you know everything's going right, or if anything needs to be changed.  The goal is to alert the DBA of problems before they occur, just like a MySQL guru would if they were looking over your shoulder.  The system provides graphs, alerts and suggestions on how to fix any problems with links directly into the MySQL Knowledge Base. 

Noel's report is not about MySQL, but it does confirm some of the benefits we've had in mind for a while.  Worth thinking about, especially for those working on IT plans for 2007.

Steve Jobs on Meeting Girls


There's a slightly humorous interview with Steve Jobs in NewsWeek by Steven Levy about the success of the iPod.  Jobs does a good job providing some insight into what makes products successful.  But his comments on Microsoft's forthcoming Zune portable audio player sound like like's giving dating tips:

Q. Microsoft has announced its new iPod competitor, Zune. It says that this device is all about building communities. Are you worried?
In a word, no. I've seen the demonstrations on the Internet about how you can find another person using a Zune and give them a song they can play three times. It takes forever. By the time you've gone through all that, the girl's got up and left! You're much better off to take one of your earbuds out and put it in her ear. Then you're connected with about two feet of headphone cable.

Who knew Steve Jobs was such a makeout king?

Ray Noorda RIP


Ray Noorda, former CEO and Chairman of networking software giant Novell, passed away Monday at the age of 82 from Alzheimer's disease.  While Novell has had its share of ups and downs in recent years, Noorda deserves credit for launching PC networking and turning Novell into a billion dollar powerhouse software company in the 1990s.  For those old enough to remember, getting PCs connected together to handle email and file & printer sharing was a godsend; Netware made it possible and became the de facto standard.  Netware enabled millions of developers to create networked applications.  Netware's resellers and certified engineers were tremendously loyal to Novell and enabled the company to transform itself into an open source company in recent years.