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Archive for the tag “MySQL 5.6”

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.

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: General MySQL Syntax for Developers (Section 2)

The General MySQL Syntax section of the MySQL 5.6 Developer certification exam is a bit meatier than the MySQL Architecture section covered in my last post, but it’s still likely to be very familiar to experienced MySQL developers (or DBAs):

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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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MySQL Connect HOL content posted

Just a quick post to note that the content from my hands-on lab at MySQL Connect (“MySQL Enterprise Features in Practice”) has been uploaded to the content catalog, and can be found here.  This includes the 36-page lab manual and example commands and programs (mostly in Java; the package includes both compiled and source code).  For those who attended the lab, this is an opportunity to complete the exercises we didn’t get to in the 2.5 hours, and for those who missed it, an opportunity to learn more about the features and capabilities of key MySQL Enterprise products and features such as MySQL Enterprise Audit plugin, MySQL Enterprise Monitor and MySQL Enterprise Security (PAM plugin).  I hope to expand on the lab content to demonstrate other features such as MySQL Enterprise Backup,  MySQL Enterprise High Availability and MySQL Enterprise Scalability, and will post updates via my blog.

Why you should register for MySQL 5.6 certification exams now

I’ve previously shared my excitement over the coming Oracle Certified Professional exams for MySQL 5.6 (both Developer and DBA), and I’m putting my (employer’s) money where my mouth is – I’ve registered to sit for the DBA exam in early November (some test sites have limited opportunities; interested candidates should consider booking now).  Here’s why I think others should do the same:

Low cost

During the beta period (through December 14), the cost of the exam is only $50 USD.  That’s barely more than the cost of a book or study guide these days, and a significant savings from the normal exam prices.

Full certification

Those who pass the exam will be given a full certification – not some lesser “beta certification.”  There’s no distinction between those who pass the exam during the beta period and those who pass later.

Help produce better exams

Beta test takers contribute to better exams – the results are analyzed to find the best (and worst) questions to indicate success.  Those questions which don’t correlate to overall success on the exam are left off the production exams.

This last point raises the only real drawbacks in taking a beta exam.  Because questions are being screened as well as candidates, exams consist of 150 questions instead of 70, making the time commitment larger (3h).  Since certain questions will be discarded based on low correlation to overall success, it also means candidates must wait until the end of the beta period before results can be provided.  If you can deal with a longer test and subsequent wait for results, this beta exam is a great, low-risk way to get your MySQL 5.6 certification – all while helping ensure the final certification exams contain the most relevant questions.

Consider registering today!

Creating custom rules in MySQL Enterprise Monitor

Quite some time ago, I published scripts to implement password policies for MySQL, and promised to show how to expose violations of that policy via MySQL Enterprise Monitor (MEM).  That stalled somewhat with other objectives, but I want to revisit it now that MEM 3.0 is GA.  If you haven’t tried MEM 3.0 yet, consider doing so – it’s quick and easy to set up.

Many people don’t realize that MEM can be extended to monitor things beyond MySQL Server health, including visibility into application state as observed from the database.  In part of the hands-on-lab I recently led at MySQL Connect, we implemented simple application state monitoring to alert – via MEM – when the number of active application sessions exceeded certain thresholds.  This isn’t a new feature in MEM 3.0 – it was possible in earlier versions as well, and the process I’ll describe here in adding MEM alerting to password policy violations can be applied with only a few modifications to MEM 2.3 deployments.

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New MySQL 5.6 Developer Certification Exam

You may have already seen the news: Oracle is launching an updated certification for MySQL Developers, based on MySQL Server 5.6.  This is exciting to me for several reasons that I want to share:

Only one exam

Earlier versions of the MySQL Developer certification required sitting for two separate exams.  One goal in redefining the certification process was to make it more accessible to candidates, and reducing the cost – in both time and money – developers need to invest in examinations.  This obviously presented a challenge to cover the same material – actually more, when you consider MySQL 5.6 features – in fewer questions, but we feel we’ve done it.

Content from the experts

Content creation for this exam has drawn from many different volunteers from a wide range of MySQL teams including Training, Engineering and Sales Consultants – but it drew most heavily from the amazing MySQL Support Team, who assist developers (and DBAs) daily with MySQL questions, and who understand better than just about anybody what these developers need to know in order to successfully develop applications against MySQL Server 5.6.  The covered exam topics are listed here.

Better question format

As we wrote new exam questions and reviewed those from the earlier version of the MySQL Developer certification exams, we ensured that the questions were written in such a way to test the candidate’s knowledge, rather than ability to decipher the question.  In particular, that means no more open-ended multiple-guess questions, where it’s unclear whether one … or two … or three … or four of the six possible answers are correct.  As somebody who has taken his fair share of MySQL certification exams in the past, this was a pet peeve of mine with earlier exams.

Development focus

Because this is a developer-focused certification, we want successful candidates to be able to demonstrate ability to write MySQL-backed applications in several common languages.  One does not need to be an expert at all languages to pass the exam, but understanding common language-specific idioms and best practices are important.  That’s a step beyond the earlier certification, which focused almost exclusively on SQL statements.  There’s more to writing good MySQL-backed applications than writing sound SQL, and this exam expands scope to include more of that necessary knowledge.

Alignment with MySQL Developer Training

Naturally, the certification process covers the same ground as Oracle’s MySQL Training for Developers course, making that an ideal opportunity to get up to speed on the topics which will help you pass the exam, but more importantly, develop successful applications that use MySQL Server 5.6 as a data store.

A huge thanks to the MySQL Support Team and Training Team at Oracle for helping drive this update, as well as those from other MySQL teams here at Oracle who contributed time and content.

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