Been asked a few times in the last few days about where my slides are from my MySQL keynote from *last* year.
Um, yeah. Sorry about that. Here’s a link to ‘The SmugMug Tale’ slides, and you can watch the video below:
Sorry for the extreme lag. I suck.
The important highlights go something like this:
- Use transactional replication. Without it, you’re dead in the water. You have no idea where a crashed slave was.
- Use a filesystem that lets you do snapshots. Easily the best way to do backups, spin up new slaves, etc. I love ZFS. You’ll need transactional replication to really make this painless.
- Use SSDs if you can. We can’t afford to be fully deployed on SSDs (terabytes are expensive), but putting them in the write path to lower latency is awesome. The read path might help, too, depending on how much caching you’re already doing. Love hybrid storage pools.
- Use Fishworks (aka Open Storage) if you can. The analytics are unbeatable, plus you get SSDs, snapshots, ZFS, and tons of other goodies.
- Use transactional replication. This is so important I’m repeating it. Patch it into MySQL (Google, Facebook, and Percona have patches) or use XtraDB if you use replication. We use the Percona patch.
Holler in the comments if something in the presentation isn’t clear, I’ll answer. Apologies again.
Shameless plug – we’re hiring. And it’s a blast.
I like both Adobe (Lightroom rocks!) and Apple (iPad rocks!), but I’ve been asked over and over again what I think about Apple’s new 3.3.1 policy. You know, the one that basically bans cross-platform development frameworks. And, in particular, basically nails the Flash coffin shut on iPhone/iPod/iPad. So, what do I think?
I love it.
And I’m surprised more developers, end users, business leaders, and general web standards lovers everywhere aren’t posting about how great this is.
It’s good for end users.
The App Store already has a signal-to-noise problem. With hundreds of thousands of apps, finding the good stuff is tough. Bear in mind that every single one of those Apps was built by someone intentionally designing for these devices – and we’ve still got plenty of junk in amongst the gems. Now imagine a bunch of developers just cross-publishing to lots of devices – ignoring all of the strengths of each of those devices. The signal to noise ratio gets worse, fast. Ugh.
It’s good for the web.
For me, this one is the biggie. These devices are a dual-platform: iPhone SDK and HTML. Don’t like the iPhone SDK? Build for HTML. And finally, finally, someone has stepped up and done something about the de-facto Flash monopoly. Flash has helped the web and HTML standards to stagnate. It’s sorta like a drug. It’s whizzy and slick, granted. But it’s a nightmare, too. Flash crashes constantly. Its performance is terrible (when a 1Ghz mobile processor in the iPad plays video more smoothly than Flash on a 16-core Mac Pro with a hefty GPU, that’s a problem). And it smashes through web paradigms left and right. Why? Because there’s no competition.
Look at the browser world, on the other hand. With Microsoft, Mozilla, Google, and Apple duking it out, we’re seeing a breathtaking pace of innovation. Browser stability and performance is improving at an astonishing rate. There’s no reason Flash shouldn’t be super-stable and fast by now – but it isn’t. It’s like the Internet Explorer doldrums all over again – Flash is holding us back, just like IE used to. I’d rather be building for something with a scary fast pace of innovation than something stale.
The iPad is already spurring HTML5 adoption even faster than before. Witness all the video and games sites that are already scrambling to announce and ship their HTML5 interfaces. Bring it on!
I want to build for the web, not for Flash.
It’s good for developers.
And by that, I mean “good developers.”
Good developers are language agnostic. They’ll write in whatever language is worth the effort.
Good developers love great toolsets and great platforms. The iPhone SDK is amazing.
Good developers want their creations to be perfectly tuned to their purpose. The iPhone/iPod/iPad interfaces demand and deserve lots of individual attention, not to be marginalized by some middleware cross-platform publisher.
Good developers want their products found and used. The App Store signal-to-noise issue is a daunting one – more shovelware won’t help.
Good developers want a stable community, with lots of advice, sample code, libraries, etc. A fragmented development landscape prohibits that – a unified one encourages it.
I could go on – you get the point. Best of all? It weeds out poor developers. And if the iPhone SDK and HTML5 aren’t your thing – go build somewhere else. I’m sure there’ll be another computing revolution in a decade or two that you can ignore yet again. 🙂
(and if you’re a good developer – we’re hiring and we’re having more fun than you can possibly imagine)
It’s good for Apple.
They get better apps. Happier end users. More productive good developers. Fewer bad developers. And, of course, they make more money. They did invent the software, devices, and App Store, afterall. Why should they marginalize themselves out of their own business?
It’s even good for Adobe
Granted, not quite as good for Adobe as having Flash on these devices. 🙂 But lets not forget that Adobe has a stable of great applications, like Illustrator and Photoshop, which aid iPhone development. Their sales will still boom.
Finally, Adobe is incentivized, finally, to actually improve Flash. I’ll bet if Adobe actually made Flash stable, fast, and power efficient, it could get added to the iPhone for use in-browser. It’s not like Apple enjoys seeing half rendered web pages in their browser – they just enjoy customer complaints about crashing and poor performance less. Believe me – I know all about customer complaints due to poor Flash behavior.
But that window of opportunity is closing – the owners of those web pages don’t enjoy their stuff being half-rendered either. They’ll rush to fix that problem – without Flash – if Adobe doesn’t fix it for them.
So there you have it. Thanks, Apple, for doing what’s best for the web, your customers, and developers like me. The future is bright. Long live web standards!
(this post written on an iPad in WordPress’ excellent app)
I understand many disagree, and have their own reasons. Go write for Android, another great platform that’s more open. Maybe if you do, Android will ‘win’. I think you’re confusing platform choice and development choice here. Personally, I’d love to have more platform choice. Who wouldn’t? But Apple did invent this thing. They certainly deserve to make whatever decisions they want about it. If you’re right, and I’m wrong, those decisions will kill the platform. I happen to think I’m right, and I happen to think Flash needs to seriously improve – and the Apple’s the only way that’s gonna happen.
Note that I don’t have an opinion on things like MonoTouch, which I know nothing about. It could very well be that Apple painted with too wide of a brush here and excluded some things that should really be included. I just don’t know. I do know, though, that history has shown that cross-platform languages and frameworks have an abysmal success rate. The last thing we need is watered down apps built for the lowest common denominator.
Finally, yes, SmugMug uses Flash. I’m sure we’ll continue to use it. Like I said, it’s slick and whizzy and like a drug. We used it because it was the only tool for the job. Adobe did a great thing with their h.264 support, and we love our Flash apps – when they work. But it’s been awfully frustrating to watch Flash continue to crash and perform poorly for our customers, especially because Adobe doesn’t seem to care. They certainly don’t respond to us when we ask for help, and they certainly haven’t fixed their issues with multiple releases. I’m hopeful that this sudden pressure and increased competition will cause them to bring Flash up to the level of their other superb products like Lightroom. If not, you’ll certainly see us move away from Flash as HTML5 support and performance continues to improve, just like everyone else on the web. We can play Quake II in HTML5, for heaven’s sake!
Steve Jobs on Adobe. Amen, brother.
For anyone who lives and dies by MySQL and InnoDB, things are finally starting to heat up and get interesting. I’ve been banging the “MySQL/InnoDB scales poorly” drums for years now, and despite having paid Enterprise licenses, I haven’t been able to get anywhere. I was pretty excited when Sun bought MySQL since their future is intrinsically tied to concurrency, but things have been pretty slow going over there this year.
But the community has finally taken up arms and is fighting the good fight. It’s (finally!) a great time to be a MySQL user because there’s been lots of recent progress. Here’re some of my favorites (and highlights of work left to do):
I can’t sing Percona’s praises enough. They’re probably the most knowledgeable MySQL experts out there (possibly even including Sun). Absolutely the best bang for the buck in terms of MySQL service and support – better than MySQL’s own offering. (If I had to guess why that is, I’d bet that MySQL/Sun don’t want to step on Oracle’s toes by fixing InnoDB – but >99% of what we need is related to InnoDB. Percona has no such tip-toeing limitations.) Let me quickly count the ways they’ve helped me in the last few months:
- They knew of a super obscure configuration setting “back_log“. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t. But we started seeing latency on MySQL connections (up to *3 seconds*!) on systems that hadn’t changed recently (exactly 3 seconds sounded awfully suspicious, and sure enough, it was TCP retries). After going through every single kernel, network, and MySQL tuning parameter I know (and I know a lot), I finally called Percona. They dug in, investigated the system, and unearthed ‘back_log’ within an hour or two. Popped that into my configuration and boom, everything was fine again. Whew!
- We have servers that easily exceed InnoDB’s transaction limits. Did you know InnoDB has a concurrent transaction limit of 1024? (Technically, 1024 INSERTs and 1024 UPDATEs. But INSERT … ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE manages to chew up one of each). I know all about it – I’ve had bugs open with MySQL Enterprise for more than 2 years on the issue. What’s more, these are low-end systems – 4 cores, 16GB of RAM – and they’re no-where near CPU or IO bound. It took MySQL months to figure out what the problem was (years, really, to figure out all the final details like the different undo logs for INSERT vs UPDATE). Their final answer? It’ll be fixed in MySQL 6. 😦 Note that 5.1 *just* went GA after years and years. On the other hand, it took Percona one weekend to diagnose the problem, and 13 days to have a preliminary patch ready to extend it to 4072 undo slots. Talk about progress! (And yes, we want Percona to release the patch to the world)
- Solving the CPU scaling problems. These have been plaguing us for years (we have had some older four-socket systems for awhile … now with quad-core, it’s even worse), and thanks to Google and Percona, this problem is well on its way to being solved. We’re sponsoring this work and can’t wait to see what happens next.
- XtraDB. This is the biggy. So big it deserves its own heading….
Oracle’s done a terrible job of supporting the community with InnoDB. The conspiracy theorists can all say “I told you so! Oracle bought them to halt MySQL progress” now – history supports them. Which is a shame – Heikki is a great guy and has done amazing work with InnoDB, but the fact remains that it wasn’t moving forward. The InnoDB plugin release was disappointing, to say the least. It addressed none of the CPU or IO scalability issues the community has been crying about for years.
Luckily, Percona finally did what everyone else has been too afraid to do – they forked InnoDB. XtraDB is their storage engine, forked from InnoDB (and then turbocharged!). We’re not running it in production yet, but we are running all of the patches that went into XtraDB and I can tell you they’re great. We’re sponsoring more XtraDB development (and yes, we made sure Percona will be contributing anything they build for us back to the community) with Percona, and I’m sure that’ll continue.
I’ve already blogged a bit about Drizzle, but it sure looks like Drizzle + XtraDB might be a match made in heaven. Drizzle can be though of as a MySQL engine re-write with an eye towards web workloads and performance, rather than features. MySQL 4.1, 5.0, and 5.1 added a lot of features that bloated the code without offering anything really useful to web-oriented workloads like ours, so the Drizzle team is ripping all that stuff back out and rethinking the approaches to the things that are being left in. Very exciting.
The advent of “cheap enough” super-fast SSD storage is finally upon us. I’ve got Sun S7410 storage appliances in production and they’re blazingly fast. I have a very thorough review coming, but the short version is that even with NFS latencies, we’re able to do obscene write workloads to these boxes (let alone reads). 10000+ write IOPS to 10TB of mirrored, crazy durable (thanks ZFS!) storage is a dream come true. Once you mix in snapshots, clones, replication, and Analytics – well, it just doesn’t get much better than this.
(Don’t get sticker shock looking at the web pricing – no-one pays anything even remotely like that. Sign up for Startup Essentials if you can, or talk to your Sun sales rep if you can’t, and you can get them much cheaper. I nearly had a heart attack myself until I got “real” pricing. Tell them I sent you – enough Sun people read this blog, it might just help 🙂 ).
So, all in all, there’s been an awful lot of progress this year, which is great. CPUs are finally scaling under InnoDB, and we finally have storage that isn’t bounded by physical rotation and mechanical arms. Unfortunately, great CPU scaling plus amazing IO capabilities isn’t something InnoDB digests very well. As is common in complicated systems, once you fix one bottleneck, another one elsewhere in the system crops up. This time, it’s IOPS. It was eerie reading Mark Callaghan’s post about this last night – I’d come to the exact same conclusions (from an Operations point of view rather than code-level) just yesterday.
Bottom line: Despite having ample CPU and ample IO, InnoDB isn’t capable of using the IO provided. You can bet we’ll be working with Percona, Google and Sun (read: sitting back and admiring their brilliant work while writing the occasional check and providing production workload information) to look into fixing this.
In the meantime, we’re back to the old standbys: replication and data partitioning. Yes, we’re stacking lots of MySQL instances on each S7410 to maximize both our IOPS and our budget. Fun stuff – more on that later. 🙂
UPDATE: Just occurred to me that there are plenty of *new* readers to my blog who haven’t heard me praise Google and their patches before. Mark Callaghan’s team over at Google definitely deserves a shout-out – they’ve really been a catalyst for much of this work along with Percona.