MySQL 5.6.17 – now with better encryption

Joro wrote recently about MySQL 5.6.17‘s new support for AES-256 encryption, and it’s a great improvement for people need to encrypt their data at rest.  The new session block_encryption_mode variable controls what variant of AES is used, and for backwards compatibility, the default behavior remains 128-bit key length with ECB block cipher mode.  If you’re happy with that level of encryption, nothing changes – your existing code will work the same on 5.6.17 as it has on earlier versions (note that users of statement-based replication will experience new warnings).  There are good examples of how to use the new functionality in the updated public test cases, but this blog post is intended to help orient users to the new options as well.

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MySQL 5.6 Certification Now GA!

The MySQL 5.6 certification exams (Developer and DBA) are now GA!  A big thanks to all those who sat for the extended length beta exams – and subsequently waited for several months for your results.  Your feedback and the data collected from many beta testers helped ensure the final exams are high quality. A huge thanks also goes to the MySQL staff at Oracle who produced, edited and verified exam questions, in addition to their normal job responsibilities.  In particular, these exams would have never materialized without a massive investment from the MySQL Support Team – thanks for the great job!

If you missed the reduced-fee beta period, the exams are now available for $245 (USD) each.  While not as inexpensive as the beta exams, this is still a substantial savings from earlier certification offerings, as each certification has collapsed content from two exams (and two fees) into a single exam.  And you’ll get the benefits of a GA test – quick feedback on results and a shorter exam with higher-quality, beta-vetted questions.

The exams are tough – I wasn’t sure whether I would pass (like Dave Stokes, happy to report I did).  The passing percentage for both exams is set at 64%.   If you’re feeling unsure about whether you’re prepared, consider a MySQL Training course to assist you.

Now that I know that I passed both exams, I’ll try to complete the promised study guide blog posts.

SF MySQL Meetup Presentation: Changes in MySQL 5.7

Last Wednesday, I spoke at the San Francisco MySQL Meetup on the topic of changes coming in MySQL 5.7 (and later).  We actually went through two different slide decks; the first on features being considered for deprecation in MySQL 5.7 (or later), and the second set providing a brief overview of the new features and benefits already introduced in MySQL 5.7 via the development milestone releases (DMRs) published to date.  A big thanks to the entire SF Meetup group, and in particular the organizers (Erin, Mike and Darren), for having me.  The event was streamed and recorded, and you can view the full presentation on YouTube.  The slide deck can be found here.

The discussion around proposed deprecation was good, and this blog serves to document my own notes about what was said – giving others an opportunity to provide additional feedback.  Feel free to comment either to reinforce or offer alternative perspectives on the feedback noted.  There’s also some post-presentation clarification mixed in:

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MySQL Support is Hiring!

My old team here at Oracle looking for talented, experienced MySQL experts to join the amazing MySQL Support Team.  I was lucky enough to join this great group of people over seven years ago, and while my responsibilities have shifted to other areas with the MySQL team at Oracle, I still join the team’s chat channel daily (where they’ve revoked my vowel and address me as “t*dd” to highlight my treachery in leaving the team).   I don’t know that it’s possible to find a better group of colleagues to work with than can be found in the MySQL Support Team.

The work itself is exciting – if you like solving problems, this is an incredible job.  I’m not talking about finding and quoting applicable sections of the MySQL reference manual.  I’m talking about owning customer problems like they are your own, taking the time to understand what’s really needed, and investing the (sometimes considerable) energy into finding adequate solutions for customers – whether the problem be a bug, optimizing a schema or a query, making deployment or architecture recommendations, or just pointing people to the right download for their needs.

Beyond the primary responsibility of caring for customers in need, the MySQL Support Team performs a number of other critical roles in Oracle.  They process and prioritize community-reported bugs, they wrote many of the questions on the updated MySQL 5.6 certification exams, they evaluate development releases and provide early feedback on pre-GA software, they share their knowledge at conferences, they contribute code patches, they write features that meet customer needs, they participate in product planning teams.  If you want to have a meaningful, lasting influence on MySQL products and community, this is a great opportunity.

The team is particularly looking for candidates in Japan, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Portugal or the U.S., but would love to see resumes of qualified individuals elsewhere.  If you’re interested, please let me know via the private contact form below:

Live reconfiguration of replication topography in Connector/Java

As noted in a previous post, MySQL Connector/Java supports multi-master replication topographies as of version 5.1.27, allowing you to scale read load to slaves while directing write traffic to multi-master (or replication ring) servers.  The new release of version 5.1.28 builds upon this, allowing live management of replication host (single or multi-master) topographies.  This parallels functionality that has long existed for load-balanced connections, and enables users to add or remove hosts – or now promote slaves – for Java applications without requiring application restart.  This post aims to explain how to leverage this functionality (the TL;DR/fun demo is found in the examples section)

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Multi-master support in MySQL Connector/Java

MySQL Connector/Java has long had support for replication-aware deployment, allowing a single logical Connection object to effectively “pool” connections to both a master and (potentially multiple) slaves.  This allowed scale-out of read load by distribution of read traffic to slaves, while routing write load to the master.  The JDBC specification provides a nice hook to know what’s read-only traffic – Connection.setReadOnly().  When a boolean value of true is passed, a ReplicationConnection will route further commands a selected slave instance, while values of false trigger routing to the master.  This is sufficient for many simple replication topographies, but not all – most notably, it has been difficult to handle multi-master deplyment.  MySQL Connector/Java 5.1.27 aims to solve that, and a number of related problems.

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My Favorite Hidden Docs Page

There’s a lot to love about the MySQL product documentation – a lot of hard work from a number of very talented Oracle staff goes into it (not to mention the helpful suggestions and feedback from the community).  There is, however, one page I find myself coming back to again and again, despite the fact that it’s somewhat hard to find.  This is the MySQL Server options/variable reference page.  It’s a helpful table that lists every MySQL Server option or variable, what version it was introduced or deprecated in, whether it’s dynamic or not, whether variables have session/global/both scope, and links to the version-specific documentation for that variable (useful to know when default values changed, for example).

It always takes me a while to find this page again when I’m looking for it, as it’s outside of the version-specific Server manual.  Maybe you already know about this page and have it bookmarked; if not, give it a look – I find it very useful.  That said, I wish it had filtering capabilities, so I wrote this bug report.  I like being able to quickly answer questions like:

  • Which options were introduced in MySQL 5.6?
  • Which options and variables contain “ssl”?
  • Which options cannot be set dynamically?

There’s a functional but ugly form and working JavaScript code attached to the bug report, if you ever have similar needs.  All it needs is JQuery and the <div> contents that surround the table.

Exam Cram: MySQL Architecture for Developers (Section 1)

The first section in the exam topics for both the MySQL 5.6 Developer and DBA exam deals is titled MySQL Architecture, but each has a different emphasis.  This blog will focus on those objectives listed for the Developer exam:

  • Use MySQL client programs to interface with the MySQL Server interactively and in batch
  • Describe SQL Modes and their impact on behavior of MySQL
  • Identify characteristics which have session scope

For those of us who have spent time pulling both DBA and developer duties, this section is likely to be relatively straight-forward – perhaps even easy.  I’ll walk through the exercises and documents I’ve used to review below to kick off my Exam Cram blog series.

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Exam Cram: Preparing for the MySQL 5.6 certification exams

As noted in earlier posts, exams for the MySQL 5.6 Developer and DBA certifications are entering a beta period, allowing candidates to register for the exams at steep discounts from normal certification exam fees.  I’ve registered to take both exams late this month, and – like Moritz – I’m starting to prepare for the exams now.  For those considering sitting for the exams, my plan is to document my exam preparation in a series of blog entries.  This won’t be a formal or official study guide, but I hope it will prove useful to those preparing for the exams during the beta period (or those who come later).  That said, I’m fortunate to have some great resources to help guide my preparations, and hopefully these will benefit others as well.

What to study

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