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Amazon RDS, MySQL, Hmm?

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Nov. 6th, 2009 | 12:18 am

When a name like Amazon gets into the business, everyone acts like everything is new and shiny again :)

Why, I can remember like it was, well... almost a decade ago when I first saw a hosting vendor get into the business of support MySQL databases.

The first vendor I remember? Rackspace. Why? Because way back when, they were the main sponsor for the second OpenSource Database Conference.

Looking through the options that Amazon provides, they do look pretty sharp. Database backups can be a pain, and providing snapshot based ones is an excellent idea. There was some talk of snapshotting when I was at the MySQL User Group this week talking about Drizze. The general consensus was that this was the superior way to do backups.

The other backup methods, like using a physical backup tool, certainly work (Innodb has sold one for years, and Percona has one that they provide). If logical backups are your thing you can always use mysqldump with Innodb to do an online backup (If you look through past blogs you can see how I use it and the distributed revision control system Mercurial to backup my databases and provide point in time recovery/selective restores).

Backup services to S3 are not new at all. Zmanda started to provide a product for backing it up years ago. Googling on "S3 mysql backup", I found several links for HOWTO to do it.

Looking at the API, I believe native driver support is available. I would be curious to find out if they are supporting just the ASCII protocol, or if they have enabled the binary one as well (which is an awesome way of crashing your database). I am going to assume these databases are all in a self contained instance. If not? Should be simple enough to crash you and your neighbor. It would be interesting to find out how many changes they had to make to the database (or still have to make... all of this reminds me that they were heavily recruiting at the MySQL User's Conference last year). It was pretty obvious back then that they were going to work on this service. There is no mention of SSL support. The SSL stuff built into MySQL would be a pain to make work, but I suspect they could with some hacking.

I wonder if libdrizzle's mysql bits will work? I suspect we will have to try that out. If so, anyone need sharding in their driver?

BTW if you follow their "use mysqldump" model for pushing data into the service, remember that --single-transaction will allow you to do a hot backup. There is no need to lock up your current database. I am still appalled at how few people know that. Years ago we should have renamed "mysqldump" to "mysqlbackup" and defaulted the settings for Innodb. Outside of licensing, I suspect "how to backup" my database was the most often requested question.

Oh, that and "are you worried now that Oracle has acquired Innodb?"

Renaming our dump tool to backup would have made for pretty slick marketing :)

Amazon's sizing numbers look good. They have hit the sweet spot for most users.

Monitoring is nice, but also, not that hard. If you have everything already in AWS I can see where the "one stop shopping" would be nice (or is that one-click?).

There is more you can find in an article by Jeff. Rightscale has an article up as well.

I'm really curious to find out what they have disabled in 5.1, I have a hard time believing they can support all of its features. Coming up with an upgrade path should be interesting to watch. I've seen no sign of any patches coming back from them, so I would assume they have rolled their own. This means either they will be on 5.1 for a long time, or will be spending a lot of engineering time maintaining their own version. (Most of the bigger MySQL shops do, so it is not all that surprising.) The number of folks on the planet that can really maintain custom versions well is pretty small. I don't believe Amazon has any of them on staff. I am sure though that they can find people who can figure it out.

I have seen mixed results when companies keep their own custom versions of MySQL. It can be pretty easy to code yourself into a corner when you don't play an active part in the community. 5.1 should provide many years worth of use for them though.

Kudos to Amazon. Having them run a database service won't provide the "high end" sort of usage that keeps the folks who tune databases in business, but there certainly are a lot of users for whom this type of service will work just fine.

At the very least this service will certainly up the ante for others in the MySQL hosting business.

Providing services like RDS and application is the future for cloud companies. It will be interesting to see what they will come up with next.

I'm surprised Memcached hasn't been done as a service yet, but perhaps that is why I have those SASL patches sitting in my inbox.

We still have a little while before Gearman will be announced :)

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Comments {7}

Arjen Lentz

oh the shiny...

from: arjen_lentz
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)

I'm not sure about the sizing, and mods. The RDS pages seem to indicate that it's using a standard MySQL server from Sun/MySQL. Given that neither you nor I know of anyone working on this at Amazon, that's plausible. Having support/DBA staff is not the same as having core developers.
If it's unmodifed, it means that the instances won't scale to the # of cores the bigger machines run on. Plus, without replication you really won't grow that large. I remember some clients who tried, and they got into big trouble.

I think it's a good offering pitched at the low end and essentially non-consumers of other MySQL services. But it's really not for installations that already have higher specific demands.

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Re: oh the shiny...

from: stormerider
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)

They do plan on supporting replication down the line, as someone who's talked to Amazon about this when they announced the beta RDS program. We just kept waiting for it to land in one of the releases to actually spend some time evaluating it, and still haven't done so because of it.

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Brian "Krow" Aker

Re: oh the shiny...

from: krow
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)

Replication is tricky and error prone in MySQL. 5.1 also is not that fun on this topic. I'd be curious to see how stable it turned out to be.

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(no subject)

from: stormerider
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)

It's pretty easy to roll your own memcache AMI inside EC2, though... LiveMocha is constanly looking for ways to leverage AWS features and we've rolled a few AMIs for testing. Take an m1.xlarge instance, load up memcached, and you're good to go-- after all, memcache is pretty damned easy to configure ;)

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(no subject)

from: ext_135049
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)

I think what RDS is now - much like what EC2 was in 2006 - is just a starting point. The features, as you point out, are fairly easily replicated by existing MySQL tools or third party options like Zmanda (which we, full disclosure, use). The packaging will lower the barriers to entry for a certain segment of the market, but it's nothing terribly new.

My interest is what it could be over time. As you say, Amazon is a big brand. And while they may or may not have someone on staff capable of running a custom version, they certainly have the capability to procure one (or many, actually) should that become necessary. Or desirable.

That's what interests me: what Amazon could do, if they had to or wanted to. And what that might mean for MySQL.

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Brian "Krow" Aker

(no subject)

from: krow
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)

I think Amazon doing a "mysql" like service is more noteworthy then say the SAP deal, which was seen at the time as being the endorsement MySQL needed to be a real database.

SAP was a mistake, and it's affirmation and encouragement were really an albatross. Amazon is the endorsement that the MySQL Ecosystem should have been reaching for.

Edited at 2009-11-06 05:49 pm (UTC)

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AWS RDS on RSD (RightScale Dashboard) Rocks!!!!

from: ext_213281
date: Nov. 6th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)


I like this new service also. The combo of the new AWS RDS and the RightScale Dashboard (RSD) make a great pair.

Now you can have SQL as a Service (SQLaaS) in the Cloud.

I will up date my post to include your transaction comment.

Edward M. Goldberg

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