FOSDEM '09 is a free and non-commercial event organized by the community, for the community. Its goal is to provide Free and Open Source developers a place to meet.


Interview: Lenz Grimmer

Lenz Grimmer will give a talk about MySQL High Availability Solutions at FOSDEM 2009.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I live in Hamburg, Germany, where I work for the Database Group at Sun Microsystems (which was formed after MySQL was acquired by Sun almost a year ago). My current job title is "MySQL Community Relations Manager EMEA", but I joined MySQL as a Release Engineer in 2002. I inherited my first tasks directly from Monty himself: building, publishing and announcing the MySQL server releases, improving the build environment and working with the Linux distributions that ship MySQL as part of their products.

Prior to joining MySQL, I worked as a distribution developer and package maintainer at SuSE Linux in Nuremberg, Germany. I've been using Linux and Open Source Software as my main desktop operating system since 1996.

I blog on and contribute and participate in various OSS projects and activities. I also maintain a small project by myself - mylvmbackup, a tool to perform MySQL backups using file system snapshots. Additionally, I maintain a number of RPM packages on the openSUSE Build Service.

On the personal side I am married (and my wife uses Linux, too!) and have one daughter, who is 2.5 years old now. In my spare time I enjoy reading, watching movies, hacking on random stuff and gaming. I recently started running, to get some more physical exercise.

What will your talk be about, exactly?

My talk "MySQL High Availability Solutions" is an attempt to provide the audience with an overview and introduction to the tools and techniques that can be used to make a MySQL Server setup highly available. I will be talking about different technologies and tools that can be used, with a focus on Open Source solutions. I will also cover MySQL Cluster, how it relates to the MySQL Server and what features and limitations it provides. In my presentation I will talk about established "best practices", solutions that have proven to be useful and reliable for a large number of our users.

What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk ? What do you expect?

I hope I can encourage users to implement mission-critical high-availability solutions using MySQL with confidence, and to inspire them to improve the availability of their existing MySQL installations. I'd like to provide some insights into what works well for other users and what our consultants recommend to customers. I also hope to make MySQL Cluster more popular.

I don't really know what to expect, but I am looking forward to good feedback and a great audience!

What does your job as MySQL Community Relations Manager at Sun looks like?

Establishing and maintaining a good relation to the community has always had a very high priority at MySQL. We are in charge of maintaining and improving the community infrastructure like Planet MySQL, the Mailing lists and Forums and the MySQL Forge and Developer Zone. In addition to that, we attend events and conferences (like FOSDEM), to talk about MySQL and related products and to keep in touch with the community.

We perform a lot of communication with key community individuals and we disseminate news and information to the public, e.g. by blogging or writing articles. But we also do gather and collect "business intelligence" that we feed back into the organization, to make sure we don't lose track.

Do you see already benefits of the acquisition of MySQL by Sun? Does MySQL get additional support or resources now? How is the technical side influenced by Sun?

I personally am very happy about the change. Sun is a very active contributor to many Open Source Projects and the overall work atmosphere and spirit is very compatible to the MySQL culture. We immediately felt at home and were very warmly welcomed. It did not really feel like an acquisition at all!

Of course there are some pains and many things work differently in large corporations. So for some of us it has been a bit of a culture shock. Lots of new processes and rules to learn and follow, some of them way more complex than they used to be before.

But in some ways Sun still feels like a startup company, I really enjoy the attitude and enthusiasm of the new colleagues I am working with now.

Sun is putting an enormous amount of resources behind MySQL, so we are finally able to tackle many projects and improvements that we previously were not able to work on, due to resource constraints. And it's really amazing to be able to work with all these bright people from across different teams! We receive a lot of helpful input and advice that will allow us to improve both our products and our established processes. But overall, Sun is very careful to not completely disrupt or overturn our organization - most of the teams are still intact and our work environment has not changed dramatically.

Knowing that Sun is a Global Partner of Oracle, will this affect MySQL?

No, not really. MySQL had an ongoing partnership with Oracle before the acquisition: Oracle maintains and develops the InnoDB storage engine, which is a key component of the MySQL Server. And MySQL's primary goal is not to compete with or replace Oracle, we fill a niche where Oracle simply is not the best fit.

What options does MySQL offer for organizations that want a high availability solution? Why should they choose MySQL High Availability Solutions?

There really isn't one single "MySQL HA solution" - it depends on the user's workload and particular environment. But here is an oversimplified answer: For three nines, use MySQL Replication. For four nines, use Heartbeat and DRBD from Linbit. For five nines, go with MySQL Cluster. And the nines here are of course the availability rate (99,9%, 99,99% and 99,999%). But for more details, do come to my presentation!

The nice part about these solutions is that they are usually pretty simple to set up and maintain and have been put into productive use by many people already. And they provide enough functionality at low cost with high flexibility (due to their Open Source Nature).

Creative Commons License
This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.