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The best guide I've found to setting up and administering MySQL databases
on June 13, 2009
Some background first: I've used MySQL for two decently-sized programming projects in the past, on the developer side. More recently I was hired to design, build and administer the back-end of a web application. MySQL seemed the natural choice. With background only in the developer's role, I had a huge amount to learn.
I started out by buying the MySQL Administrator's Guide and Reference:
and a more general book on Database Administration:
The former was pretty terrible, and it's all available online anyways so there's absolutely no reason to buy it. Why is it so bad? Despite being written by MySQL, it is completely impractical and totally bogged down with details. I defy you to figure out how to efficiently back up your database by using that guide. I couldn't.
The latter was very useful for introducing concepts like data normalization and, while a little out of date, gives a quick sense of the products that are out there. I highly recommend it as a first read. but it's not MySQL specific - so where to go then?
Finally, I found this book. It took me about 1 minute to find the tools I would need to back up a database and another 10 seconds to find a detailed discussion of what's going on when you back up a database.
It's also very recent (as of 2009/06) - it really reflects the state of the tools out there and I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the developments I had been reading about in my online research were reflected in the book. Instead of glossing over complex topics like MySQL Cluster, memcached, DRBD, Linux HA (see, I wasn't kidding about its coverage), it points you to external resources that are actually helpful.
I haven't yet read all of it but, to my knowledge, there is nothing comparable out there. If you have a good idea of the basics behind database administration and need a practical guide to how to actually administer a MySQL database, including the tools available to you, I'd seriously recommend that you take a look at this book.
- I was a bit concerned about the book's information on early-stage tools like MySQL Proxy and MySQL 6.0. They haven't been released for general use and are not certified as stable, but the book just lists them with other tools as if you could just drop them in. Be careful.
- As another reader pointed out, it's not the easiest read. But then, if you've never used SQL, never mind MySQL before, then trying to understand concepts like the difference between READ COMMITTED and SERIALIZABLE isolation levels will surely result in pain and death. This book is much better if you have a question like "How do I backup a MySQL database?", "How do I make a trigger", or "How do I set up replication?"