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High Availability Database Tools

Percona Live was held at the beginning of April this year and the Acquia team was there. This was a really great conference and I want to start by encouraging any DBA/database developer who uses MySQL in a production environment to go to the Percona Live conference. It's a great place to hear about new functionality, new products and how other companies are using MySQL at scale. Large companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter as well as hot startups like Box all send representatives to share their knowledge.

At Acquia we use the Percona version of MySQL as our standard data store for all hosted Drupal sites as well as for lots of internal projects. Since all our production servers use MySQL replication to provide high availability and our databases are continuously growing we're always looking to get better performance out of replication. The new replication enhancements in MySQL 5.6 and 5.7 are promising better performance but need some work in the application and tools to deliver on that performance. At this year's conference I decided to take a new look at the current state of external high availability and failover solutions to see what enhancements they could deliver and how much effort would be involved in implementing them.

I want to summarize and compare four of the more interesting products that are currently available. I will also point out if there are Drupal specific things to keep in mind when choosing between them. All these tools are open source and free.

LAMP stack Halloween cake

Barry Jaspan and his wife Heather spent 20 hours creating this incredible cake for Acquia's Halloween party. Creative duo! Not only did it look great, it was yummy. Trick or treat!

The S-Files: When node_load won't load, and the anonymous user has vanished

Tech Support Case Studies Use these two SQL commands to repair your Drupal 6 site to restore the anonymous user database record:
INSERT INTO users (name, mail) VALUES ('', '');
UPDATE users SET uid=0 WHERE name='';
The symptoms you'll see that tip you off that this is needed:
  1. node_load() is not loading nodes that you can prove are in the node table.
  2. node_delete() is not deleting nodes that you can prove are in the node table.
  3. The query SELECT * FROM users WHERE uid=0; returns zero rows.

The S-Files: Acquia Drupal Stack installer Got packet bigger than max_allowed_packet bytes

Tech Support Case Studies

The S-Files are a taste of the support that you get with a subscription to Acquia Support. Our support team helps you solve technical problems relating to your Drupal sites.

The Acquia Drupal Stack installer is a major productivity booster for getting up and running in the development of your Drupal site. Sometimes, though, Drupal modules like to cache huge data packets in the database. This results in an error in your browser that says this:

Got packet bigger than ‘max_allowed_packet’ bytes

This is an indication that the data being sent between Drupal and the database is large, and exceeds the default setting.

Fortunately the fix for this is easy. In the application installation directory of the stack installer you'll find the following directory and file:

Applications/acquia-drupal on my Mac

Edit the my.ini file with whatever text editor you like, and add these lines to the end:

#Max packets
max_allowed_packet = 128M

Now stop and start the Acquia Drupal Stack using the Acquia Drupal Control Panel, and the new setting will come into effect. This should solve your max_allowed_packet problem!

XDebug, Komodo, and the Acquia Drupal Stack Installer

The Acquia Drupal Stack installer for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) has been released, and it’s pretty cool (works on 10.5 Leopard, too, of course). I’m now using it as my primary development environment, replacing MAMP. In this article I show how you can configure the stack installer to use XDebug for step through debugging.

On The Market Value of a Brand

Sandro Groganz has an interesting post where he attempts to calculate the value of the MySQL brand as a component of the acquisition price Sun paid. Here's the punch line: "As of today, a whopping 85% of MySQL’s economic value added can be attributed to its strong Open Source brand." I haven't checked Sandro's math in detail, but it's clear that brand is a huge component of the value of MySQL."