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Mark Atwood
In response to "The open-source job shortage"
Over in CNET, Matt Asay has posted an article The open-source job shortage, talking about large enterprises' need for developers with deep MySQL experience.

While he is correct about the need for talent with that skillset, there are plenty of effective solutions.

A number of months ago, Harper Reed asked me where he could hire MySQL talent, and I told him to take his existing staff, and run them thru MySQL training. That seems to have worked for him. That's now my stock answer when people ask where they can hire MySQL talent.

When you need to go up to the next level, get and read the book High Performance MySQL, Second Edition. The book is basically several of the very best MySQL people in the world, reduced to readable book form. If your staff will read that book, they will become people with "deep MySQL experience".

If training up your own staff is not on the roadmap, and you need someone to come in for a week to analyze and design a new system, or to do performance fixes to an existing system, you have many choices. There is, of course, Sun MySQL Professional Services. Or you can go to folks like 42SQL, or Proven Scaling, or Percona, or Open Query.

Or say you want operational ongoing DBAs, or have a panic situation and you need a DBA right now, there are outfits like Pythian and Blue Gecko. And if you are a hybrid shop, these two companies do both MySQL and Oracle.

In short, "using MySQL is risky because we can't find the talent!" is a solved problem.

Now, you might not want to pay the talent, but that's a different problem.

(Disclaimer and disclosure: I work for Sun MySQL Professional Services.)

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Current Location: Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

11 comments or Leave a comment
loganb From: loganb Date: August 2nd, 2008 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
using MySQL is risky because we can't find the talent!

This argument against using technology X drives me nuts, especially when it is something as well defined as a SQL server. If someone on your dev/ops staff can't spend a weekend (or maybe a few weeks, max) with a book and become the company's resident expert, you're already fucked because you hired a bunch of monkies.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
To be fair to the monkeys, a couple of weeks with a book would only get you up to "decent DBA" skills. E.G., good enough for most IT shops, but you would get crushed if you were running it behind a webhead and got even a little bit popular.

But now the necessary book now exists, and I cited it in my post. Read THAT deeply, and you will be a good enough expert to A&D just about any growing website app.
From: xaprb Date: August 2nd, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Thanks for the compliment

That's a great vote for the book. Thanks. I see no Amazon reviews and yet, the first printing is selling fast. (The second printing goes to press in a few days). Apparently some other folks agree with you!

BTW Percona is worldwide now. Peter and Vadim are the westmost front in California, and we have people in eastern Russia, and lots of folks in between: Poland, Lithuania, Spain, east coast USA...
awfief From: awfief Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not enough to train and read books, but you have to use MySQL while you're doing it to gain the experience to do so, and gain experience with it. Just to clarify; the training is excellent (and Open Query also offers training),

Oh, and also, Blue Gecko may be "basic" DBA ongoing and oncall, but I know that Pythian has more than just the basics going for it. :) We do the basics and more complicated stuff, augmenting or just being the DBA team for companies.

(I know you were focusing on the "ongoing" as opposed to "come in for a week", but the word "basic" was the first descriptor, and my days are usually anything but basics! Basically if folks use Pythian they don't need to hire a consultant to come in for analysis, design, or performance tuning because we do that as well.)
awfief From: awfief Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
(one more clarification: I completely agree, if you want talent, hire someone junior, train 'em, and give them the book, and you'll have someone senior. Actually I'd first say "hire Pythian" 'cause we've got some of the best talent, as do the rest of the firms on your list.....).
senk From: senk Date: August 3rd, 2008 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps he meant operationally focused ongoing remote dba support. That's probably the best description of Blue Gecko. Thanks for the MySQL mention Mark. Blue Gecko is currently best know for our Oracle practice, but has a growing MySQL practice.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: August 3rd, 2008 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, "operational" is a much better way to say what I meant, so I went back and edited the article to say that instead.
docorion From: docorion Date: August 7th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since I am not as familiar as some of your readers with the full range of geekery-let us say someone like me went through the training-I'm smart, but have no IT training or experience other than that of a relatively clueful user who can install and run his own Linux box-what would that qualify me to do? (If anything; I'm trying to discover the limits of the training you specify). Because, hey, if for (looks at bundles) about $7000 plus travel expenses and a couple weeks time commitment I can be a DBA, it starts to compare favorably with spending a lot more than that for an MPH, which doesn't qualify you for a lot more, and likely pays less (and, not infrequently, requires you to set up and manage good-sized databases; I applied for a recent job asking for MS Access DB experience, of which I have none at all, but I 'spect I can learn it in jig time if need be).
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: August 7th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The right person really to ask is our friend in common, awfief.

A combined MD/MPH/DBA on a resume would certainly raise eyebrows.

Huh, in fact, I know a just-beyond-the-state-of-the-art startup that does medical and genomic that I would probably refer your resume to if you ended up with that DBA...
awfief From: awfief Date: August 7th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
if you can install and run your own linux box, and manage an ER full of sickos (and then there's the patients), you would be a great DBA with some training and experience.

Mark can tell you that taking a month and learning it all will make your brain explode. I can also say that you won't retain it all, but certainly starting out with the weeklong DBA course is an excellent beginning, and will qualify you to be a junior DBA. I expect that after 6 months to a year of real-world experience and the rest of the courses you'd qualify for a regular DBA, and you'd be a senior-level dba in 3-5 years' time. (Certainly if you worked at www.pythian.com you'd be in the trenches with enough going around that you would learn plenty).

(oh, and MS Access isn't a *real* database. just sayin')
docorion From: docorion Date: August 7th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, well, I was already picturing the interview. "MS Access? Wouldn't you rather use a Real Database(tm)? I can migrate you to [something not Access; actually of all the choices I do understand MySQL better than most, which isn't saying much)] in a jiffy, really. I have friends; they will see me right :-)"

Thanks to both of you for the kind words. *is still thinking*

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