The LinkedIn MySQL Scalability group is a tremendous resource to learn how to scale MySQL. DBAs, developers, technical and senior managers have all contributed to create a vibrant group where recruiters and vendor pitches are weeded out.
How the MySQL Scalability Group Came to Be
I first arrived at ScaleBase a couple of years ago. Having paid close attention to the conversations floating around LinkedIn about MySQL scalability, I found was that there were many groups dedicated to MySQL development, replication, the LAMP stack, and so on, but there were no conversations strictly devoted to MySQL scalability. While the concept was scattered throughout the other MySQL conversations, scalability had yet to form a conversation of its own.
I came to the conclusion that there was a need for a dedicated MySQL Scalability Group in LinkedIn, where people could talk to each other about whatever they desired along the lines of MySQL scalability. The group would be open to everyone, whether they be application developers or DBAs, from beginning to end, up and down the stack with any question that has to do with MySQL scalability. And I wanted to make sure recruiters and vendors don’t clutter up discussions. I wanted to foster real dialog and discussion for education purposes.
I am thrilled that in just over a year, we went from a brand new group to one with approximately 6,500 members – discussing every aspect of MySQL scalability. Discussions such as ‘MySQL scale high availability / scale out solutions’ or ‘Does anyone use database performance tools?’, are good examples of the vibrant, relevant topics that are accompanied by dozens of comments from the community.
It has been such a pleasure for me to see individuals from multiple job roles, be it senior executives, LAMP stack developers, or MySQL DBAs, asking and answering questions around the core of their applications. Instead of all of these conversations being distributed in multiple corners of the web, they are now redirected to a single place, creating an amazing active resource where people can talk back and forth about any issues, questions, or general comments they have regarding MySQL scalability.
MySQL Is Popular, Scalability Is the Issue
While I would love to take credit for the group’s growth rate, the reality is that MySQL’s popularity itself is growing at an unprecedented rate. Currently, MySQL and MariaDB occupy 75% of the open source database marketplace, with databases like MongoDB, Cassandra and PostgreSQL occupying the remaining 25%. In addition to that, we are told from research groups, such as 451 Research, that there are around 16 million installs of MySQL, and that the entire operational database market is growing by almost 50% per year.
The LinkedIn Community Moderator’s Role
My job in this group is to be a shepherd of sorts. I keep the group open and allow anyone to ask questions about anything, whether they have to do with MySQL Cluster, replication, or even connecting a MySQL database to a Cassandra database.
When the group reached its critical mass of about 1,000 people, I took a poll to find out if everyone wanted it completely open, to contain a level of moderation, or even allow commercial product pitches. The group consensus was that they wanted anyone to be able to ask anything, and while they didn’t want commercial pitches, they were open to learning about commercial solutions in an educational way. So, as mentioned above, I allow any question across the board, whether it’s technical or business. However, as the moderator, what I do not allow is someone to join and promote their product.
Group Etiquette and Moderation
We do allow educational posts, like webinars. Additionally, I only allow job posts in the job section when there is an applicable job to be had. For example, I will allow a LAMP stack developer or MySQL DBA post, but I will not allow a Unix system admin post. So, I essentially moderate to keep out spam and commercial aspects from tainting the integrity of the group.
The group originated from a very grassroots standpoint. From the hunch that I had about the need for a MySQL scalability group, after creating the group, I added a few people, and spread the word to raise interest. At that point, it began to take off in a very organic way through word of mouth. Next, through being a member of other MySQL groups, I personally sent messages to individuals with whom I shared a MySQL group with or thought the group may have been of interest from my network. That is a practice that I perform to this day, sending out messages each week informing people about the group and asking if they would be interested in joining. I always let them know that I am simply the moderator of the group and if they would like to invite others who they think would be interested, they are more than welcome. With that, we see an increase of a couple hundred new members per week.
If getting web scale from MySQL is important to you, I invite you to join the LinkedIn MySQL Scalability group. We would love to have your voice added to the discussions