By Carsten | April 1, 2006
As I mentioned last week, I got a copy of Alex Davies and Harrison Fiskâ€™s book MySQL Clustering (us; uk). The book is not very big, and with some 14 stuck-in-an-airplane-seat hours available, I got a chance to read through the remaining chapters.
It will be easy to claim that this is the book on MySQL Cluster, but since it’s so far the only one in existence, I guess I’ll have to reserve judgment on that particular idea for a while yet. Let me just say that whoever decides to try to compete with this book has their work cut out for them.
The first impression of the book is that it’s a very slim volume indeed. But in those barely 200 pages, the authors do an excellent job in getting around to all the nooks and corners of MySQL Cluster that you are likely to need in your first several months of cluster stewardship.
It’s a beginner’s book in the sense that it will take you from knowing nothing about cluster to having several of your machines humming away in an advanced cluster configuration in a just few hours. But it is clear that the authors presume quite a bit of background knowledge. You should not expect to understand much of this book unless you have knowledge equivalent to the MySQL Proffessional or DBA certifications.*
The first 4 chapters cover the ususal administrative procedures of installation, configuration, backup/recovery strategies and security management. All written in a concise, step-by-step fashion with clear instructions and while explaining what’s going on behind the scenes.
Next comes a very important chapter on cluster performance tuning. Not that cluster performance tuning is radically different from other kinds of database tuning, but the authors highlight some important aspects to be aware of, how the cluster engine compares to other MySQL storage engines, and point to several tricks one can use to obtain better throughput.
Last come two reference chapters on troubleshooting and an overview of some common cluster setups, all of which are great references once you have gotten past the initial stages of testing your own cluster.
The language in the book flows well, and is very easy to follow. In fact, most people should be able to initially read it in a day or so (provided, of course, that you do not get all excited and put it down in order to try your fingers on a real cluster), and then keep it around for easy reference while setting up the cluster.
The text does seem to be unneccesarily verbose at times, and in several places it could have made good use of a general language-use review. Some text are “null” sentences in that they provide no information or simply don’t make much sense. That said, I did not seem to come across anything that is decidedly wrong.
Conclusion: If you’re working with or considering MySQL cluster, you will want this book. Period.
* OK, OK, I know… But, look, I am the Certification Manager. It’s my job to plug these things at every opportunity. Incidentally, you might wish to know that we currently have a great deal on MySQL 5.0 certification betas that ends on April 15…