Seeking: Database Disaster Stories

I’m going to give another “Mistakes Were Made” talk at PgConf.EU next month.

I have many disaster stories of my own, but am always looking for more! Stories of data-destruction and tales of unexpected failure are welcome.

You can leave them in the comments, or email me.

The talk focuses on the ways in which systems fail, and the typical kinds of failure we find in web operations. Types of failure I focus on are:

* Failure to Document
* Failure to Test
* Failure to Verify
* Failure to Imagine
* Failure to Implement

Stories that fall outside those categories are especially welcome.

I look forward to your tales of woe!

OpenSQLCamp was awesome!

Saturday schedule 11/14/09

Thanks to everyone who attended OpenSQLCamp this past weekend in Portland, OR! More than 100 people participated – developers, DBAs and hobbyists from all over the world. Database developers participated from PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, Drizzle, TokuDB, LucidDB, MongoDB, Cassandra, CouchDB and many more.

The great thing about these events is the opportunity to trade ideas, code and stories. One project I’m very excited about is coming from some Portland State University students and a capstone project to create a new, interactive database client that works with more than just one DBMS. Igal gave a review of non-relational datastores. We had lightning talks about: open source column store databases, a many-master replication system called Trainwreck, open source at Microsoft, how to translate between NoSQL and SQL and many more.

You can see the full list of talks and notes from sessions as people update the wiki.

Joking about NoSQL aside, I was very happy to see many non-relational database developers in attendance, sharing information and participating in interesting discussions about the data management ecosystem. One meme we were happy to spread is that every tool has a purpose and I was happy to see this tweet:

Best thing I learned at #opensqlcamp today: #nosql vs. #sql is a false duality. Different features for different problem domains.

I hope next time we can get a few more core Postgres developers to a Camp. Mark Callaghan expressed interest in a comparison of backend storage mechanisms, and several people were interested in detailed comparisons of replication strategies across many DBMSes.

Thank you to everyone who participated! (sorry I spelled your name wrong in the email, Mark. And left off your name in the list of GoDaddy road-trippers, Dan.) If you were there, please give us feedback!

We’re already looking forward to the next OpenSQL Camp. Some people thought we should do it again in Portland – and we’d be happy to host again next year! Baron also mentioned running an event in Washington, D.C.

What are you waiting for? Get your PgCon talks in now!

Yes, that’s me, with Tom Lane. You, too, might be able to get your picture with Tom!

Like Josh Berkus said yesterday:

As of today, you have 2 weeks left to submit talk proposals to PGCon.

You know you want to. PGCon is the international conference for PostgreSQL hackers, sysadmins, application developers, SQL geeks and other Smart People. Submit your talk! Be a Smart Person too!

PGCon will be happening May 21-22 in Ottawa, Canada, with tutorials on May 19 and 20. Some financial help is often available for speakers, but none is available for non-speakers. So submit, submit!

We particularly could use some talks on the new 8.4 features, really creative PostgreSQL applications, massive Postgres scaling, PostGIS, BioPostgres, and a few case studies. This means you.

I attended PgCon last year for the first time. Not only were the presentations top notch, but Dan Langille‘s hospitality set the groundwork for yet another fantastic community-building experience PostgreSQL community members experienced during the 2006 Anniversary summit in Toronto, again in 2007 at the first PgCon.

We had plenty of outstanding socializing and hacking opportunities. Last year’s conference started with a gathering of committers that was fodder for great pub and hallway track conversation all week. Great talks I saw included Andrew Sullivan’s Idle thoughts on PostgreSQL Project Management, Greg Sabino Mullane’s Bucardo talk about this multi-master replication tool, and Magnus Hagander’s walk through how was implemented.

Ottawa was beautiful last year, and I can’t wait to go back this May!