The 2008 MySQL Users' Conference - an Engineer's Perspective

This past week was the annual MySQL Users’ Conference. It was my fourth time attending the conference, my second as a MySQL-er, and my first as a Sun employee.

The conference was very well attended with many more people than last year. Overall, I’d say it was a great success.

I work on the Backup project for MySQL and I must say it was a very strange experience being in the spotlight of so much controversy concerning the announcement made about making some backup features enterprise only releases.

While there was a lot of blogging expressing the general distaste for the suggestion of making some features of backup enterprise only (as opposed to free), most of these comments seemed to come from a relatively small number of people.

I presented the Backup session and led the Birds of a Feather session on Backup. I must say that the sentiments of the bloggers was not represented in the audience of these sessions. I find it strange that the users present were not vocal on the subject. Indeed, most seemed to accept the announcement and others simply felt that the features being withheld for the enterprise customers were not that important to them.

I find the dichotomy between the (negative) bloggers and the users attending the conference sessions on backup interesting. One could almost draw the conclusion that some of the bloggers are out of touch with the users they (seemingly) represent.

Putting all the controversy aside, it was refreshing to hear from the users how pleased they were that a backup feature is now part of MySQL. The users I talked to who use the community edition of MySQL felt that they would likely use the backup feature frequently once it is released and looked forward to having a simple SQL-based backup utility. The enterprise users I talked to said they weren’t concerned over the announcement because they expect the backup tool to be a part of their current subscription once backup is released.

If attendance is any measure, it was standing room only in the backup session making backup a popular feature for the next release of MySQL.

So how did I cope with the controversy? I didn’t have to -- the users who attended my session made all of that go away. I listened to my users. I got their message loud and clear: they want backup and they like what they see. I think the one user said it best, “Having backup as part of MySQL will make my decision to base my business on MySQL a no brainer.”

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Charles Bell

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