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October 5, 2005

Meeting of the Tufts University MySQL Minds

Last week I attended a meeting with a few co-workers at Tufts University to talk about MySQL. I don't know that anyone has a good guess as to how many instances of MySQL run in the university (three campuses, dozens of departments). Of the folks at the meeting there were ~30 instances represented.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide input to consolidation of the instances that the systems group are responsible for. They have ~20 instances of MySQL spread across as many machines and are thinking about combining many of these instances onto a few, more powerful servers.

The conversation touched on many systems running MySQL at Tufts including DNS management tools, the RT tracking system, TUSK (Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase), webmail (IMP), etc.

We spent most of the time talking about the existing systems and what kinds of questions needed to be asked/answered in order to make a sane decision about moving toward a new setup. This included everything from determining what version of MySQL was running on the various hosts and if there were application dependencies on those specific versions, to looking at specific queries running on different systems to get a sense of how intense the database was being used.

Before heading into the meeting I had talked to the organizer and offered some suggestions on how to monitor the usage of a MySQL instance. Upon arrival one of the sysadmins showed the attendees a cricket monitoring system she had set up to plot a number of different statistics about their various systems. Pretty cool.

That's one of my ideas for a MySQL presentation proposal . . . how to plan for the future of a current MySQL installation. There are lots of tools out there to tell you how well your database will perform under certain loads, and a bunch of stats for what's happening right now, but I haven't seen much in the way of gathering statistics and plotting them over time. Just an idea.

Anyhow, the meeting of the Tufts MySQL minds was fun and I got to meet at least one person I hadn't met before and get to know a few folks better.

Posted by mike at October 5, 2005 10:53 AM