Friday, July 16, 2010

PBXT 1.5.02 Beta adds 2nd Level Cache

As many probably already know, PBXT is the first MySQL Storage Engine to use a log-based architecture. Log-based means that data that would normally first be written to the transaction log, and then to the database tables, is just written to the log, and the log becomes part of the database.

This result is that data is only written once, and is always written sequentially. The advantage when writing is obvious, but there is a down side (as always). The data is written to the disk in write order, which is seldom the order in which the data is retrieved. So this results in a lot of random reads to the disk when accessing the data later.

Placing the data logs on a Solid State Drive would solve this problem, because SSDs have no seek time. But the problem with this solution is that SSDs are still way to expense to base all your storage needs on such hardware.

The solution: an SSD-based 2nd Level Cache.

Using an SSD-based 2nd Level Cache you can store the most commonly accessed parts of your database on SSD for a reasonable price. For example, if you have a Terabyte database, you can cache about 15% (160 GB) of it on SSD for around $400. This can significantly affect the performance of your system.

With this thought in mind, I have just released PBXT 1.5.02 Beta, which implements a 2nd level cache for the data logs. How this works is illustrated below.

Data written to the data log is also written to the, main memory based, Data Log Cache. Once the Data Log Cache is full, pages need to be freed up when new data arrives. Pages that are freed from the Data Log Cache are written to the 2nd Level Cache.

Now, when the Data Log records are read, PBXT will read the corresponding page from the Data Log Cache. If the page is not already in the cache, it will first check to see if the page is in the 2nd Level Cache, before reading from the Data Log itself.

PBXT 1.5 is available for download from, or you can check out lp:pbxt/1.5 from Launchpad using bazaar. The documentation has also been updated for 1.5.

Using the 2nd level cache is easy. It is controlled by 3 system variables:
  • pbxt_dlog_lev2_cache_file - the name and path of the file in which the data is stored.
  • pbxt_dlog_lev2_cache_size - the size of the 2nd level cache.
  • pbxt_dlog_lev2_cache_enabled - set to 1 to enable the 2nd level cache.
It also makes sense to set a higher value for the Data Log Cache, using the pbxt_data_log_cache_size variable, which has a default value of 16MB.

Of course it will be interesting to do some benchmarks on this implementation. But that will have to wait until after my holiday! I will be away until late August, but if you decide to test the new version, be sure to let me know.

Friday, July 02, 2010

MySQL Track at the DOAG 2010 Conference

The DOAG 2010 Conference + Exhibition is to be held from the 16th to 18th November in Nuremberg this year. DOAG stands for "Deutsche ORACLE-Anwendergruppe", in English: the German Oracle User's Group.

We will be adding a MySQL track to the conference this year, much like Ronald and Sheeri did for the ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010. Volker Oboda (of PrimeBase Technologies) is organizing the track and I will be helping to review the submissions. More information is available in German on Volker's MySQL Blog.

So, if you are planning to be in the area, please consider submitting a talk. The deadline for submissions was the 30 June, but has been extended until 10 July for the MySQL track. Talks in English are welcome!

We are looking forward to playing an active part in the German speaking Oracle community. Just the size is something to wonder about. The DOAG Conference draws over 2500 participants, which is larger than the MySQL Conference (but maybe not for long!).