Friday, September 29, 2006

New PBXT Beta release includes a pluggable storage engine for MySQL 5.1

I have just released the first Beta version of PrimeBase XT. Besides MySQL 4.1.21 support it is also available as a pluggable storage engine for MySQL 5.1. As far as I know, PBXT is the first full featured engine to be released in this form.

The engine can be downloaded (at and built separately from MySQL. Currently, a reference to a MySQL 5.1 source tree is required to build the plug-in. However, in the future things will be even easier. Lenz Grimmer has told me that the plan is to include the required headers in the mysql-devel package. Then it will only be necessary to install the mysql-devel package in order to build the engine.

Still further in the future, once 5.1 is released, I will be able to make the PBXT engine available as a binary download for a number of platforms.

Once you have built the PBXT engine, you can install it by copying the binary,, to the MySQL plug-in directory. Then enter the following command:


After this, you can create tables that use the PBXT engine by setting ENGINE=PBXT in the table declaration as usual. It's that easy!

I think this makes PrimeBase XT a great demo of the ease and power of the new pluggable storage engine API for MySQL 5.1.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

PBXT Presentation at the Hamburg MySQL September Meetup

My thanks to Lenz Grimmer for the opportunity to present PrimeBase XT at the Hamburg MySQL September Meetup last Monday night. The meeting took place in a well equipped conference room belonging to the Chinese restaurant "Ni Hao" in Wandsbek. With over 20 attendees the venue was filled to capacity.

I must admit, I was a bit surprised (although I probably should not have been) by the highly technical nature of the questions and comments during the presentation and afterwards. As a result we had great time and spent quite a while discussing the various algorithms and implementation strategies used by XT.

I have posted the presentation as PDF on the PrimeBase XT home page. Among the topics of the presentation were: our motivation, a brief history of XT, future plans, design aspects and the results of some preliminary performance testing.

Of particular interest to many was the garbage collection mechanism. There was some concern as to just how much load the garbage collector would place on the server. When I presented a graphic showing the data throughput rate vs the record size written, someone asked why there was no dropoff in the performance when the garbage collector kicks in.

Indeed, performance is not affected adversely by the garbage collector. This is mainly due to the fact that the garbage collector is a low-priority thread, so it is immediately descheduled when it would affect foreground activity. This is not a problem as long as the system has enough disk space to be able to delay garbage collection until the peak access times are over. This can be contrasted with a conventional RAM garbage collector which is forced to run due to the fact that it manages a relatively scarce resource.

But besides this, the XT garbage collector generally does not require much CPU time. For example, it does not need to search for garbage, this is marked as such by the "sweeper" thread (see my white paper). I plan to discuss this topic in more details in a future blog, so stay tuned...