MySQL Group Replication OOW Tutorial

The second MySQL tutorial session at Oracle Open World was “MySQL Group Replication in a Nutshell” by MySQL Community Manager Frederic Descamps. This is succinctly described as:

“Multi-master update anywhere replication for MySQL with built-in conflict detection and resolution, automatic distributed recovery, and group membership.”

MySQL Group Replication (GR) is a virtually synchronous replication solution which is an integral component of MySQL InnoDB Cluster announced at the MySQL keynote. You can download a labs version of MySQL InnoDB cluster which includes three components.

  • MySQL Router
  • MySQL Shell
  • MySQL Group Replication

While included as part of MySQL InnoDB cluster, MySQL Group Replication can be run standalone. It is a plugin, made by and packaged by MySQL. With the plugin architecture in MySQL 5.7 the ability to release new features is greatly reduced from the more typical 2+ year general availability (GA) cycle. Plugins also allow for functionality to be not enabled by default therefore preserving the stability of an existing MySQL instance running version 5.7. This is a change in the philosophy of new functionality that I discussed in Understanding the MySQL Release Cadence which in 5.7.13 introduced the SQL interface for keyring key management. Not all in the community are happy however I consider it an important requirement for time-to-market in a fast paced open source data ecosystem.

MySQL GR is based on Replicated Database State Machine Theory and uses Paxos for evaluating consensus of available nodes in the cluster, being referred to as the Group Communication System (GCS). This is one key difference with Galera as the Paxos approach relies on accepting the certification stage within the cluster after a major of the nodes have acknowledged, rather than all nodes. MySQL GR is supported on a wide range of platforms including Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and Mac OS X, another difference with Galera.

The current Release Candidate (RC) version of MySQL Group Replication has some required configurations and some situations for applications that may not be ideal use cases for a synchronous solution. There is the complexities in the migration process of any existing infrastructure to considering MySQL Group Replication, which has at a minimum requirements of MySQL 5.7, GTID’s and row based replication. I would like to see MySQL put a lot more effort into the education and promotion of MySQL migrations from older versions to the current MySQL 5.7. Ideally I’d like to see better tools starting with MySQL 5.0 which I still see in production operation.

Some things are just the impact of current development priorities. The shell does not offer a means to promote a master in a single write configuration, i.e. the only way to simulate a failure is to produce a failure, which really means your three node cluster is no longer highly available. The use of savepoints is not currently available, a needed feature for future full compatibility for use in an OpenStack deployment. The creation of a cluster via the MySQL shell requires you to make the decision of supporting multi-master writes or a single master write. I can see the ideal need to be able to better support large batch transactions and DDL (some of those edge cases) to be able to toggle to a single write master and back. The current workaround is to utilize MySQL router to simulate this use case. The MySQL shell greatly reduces the complexity of orchestration. One of the features I like is a very convenient means to validate an Instance to see if the configuration matches minimum requirements. For example:

$ mysqlsh
> dba.validateInstance('root@mysql3:3306')

ERROR: Error executing the 'check' command: The operation could not
continue due to the following requirements not being met:
Some active options on server 'mysql3@3306' are incompatible with Group
Please restart the server 'mysql3@3306' with the updated options file
and try again.
Option name                      Required Value   Current Value
-------------------------------  ---------------  ---------------
binlog_checksum                  NONE             CRC32            FAIL
master_info_repository           TABLE            FILE             FAIL
relay_log_info_repository        TABLE            FILE             FAIL
transaction_write_set_extraction  XXHASH64         OFF
 at (shell):1:4

Something you can now do dynamically and persist in MySQL 8.0 using the SET PERSIST syntax.

The overall setup in a greenfield application is reasonable clear and will improve as the product moves towards general availability. The MySQL shell has a lot of future potential in a number of administrative functions, and the ability to switch easily between JavaScript and SQL means you can get the best of multiple languages.

In subsequent posts I will look into more of the detail of setup and monitoring of a cluster with performance_schema. I hope that existing monitoring tools will also start to support monitoring Group Replication. As the author of the New Relic MySQL Plugin in 2013 I may need to get motivated to offer a SaaS solution also.

You can find more information with official blog posts on MySQL Group Replication.

Introducing the MySQL Cloud Service

The MySQL keynote at Oracle Open World 2016 announced the immediate availability of the MySQL Cloud Service, part of the larger Oracle Cloud offering. You can evaluate this now with a trial copy at MySQL server product manager Morgan Tocker gave two presentations at the event including a deep dive session.

This is the first release of the MySQL cloud service. As with all first releases there are some highlights and some pipeline features. All major cloud providers have MySQL offerings. AWS RDS (traditional, MAZ and Aurora) GCP Cloud SQL and Azure MySQL App Service. Users of OpenStack have Trove for comparison. I am not going to be evaluating features between cloud offerings in this post.


The differentiating highlights as I see them from the presentation. I will provide a followup blog on actual usage at a later time.

  • MySQL 5.7
  • MySQL Enterprise Edition (a key difference with other cloud providers)
    • MySQL Enterprise features like Firewall, Thread Pool, Auditing etc
    • MySQL Enterprise support is included in price
    • MySQL Enterprise Monitor (MEM) is available and included in price
  • SSH access to machine
    • SSH access is a non-privileged user (opc). This shows and intention on security first policy.
  • Separated partitioning in OS/MySQL disk layout
  • ZFS. (Nice, I have missed using this)
  • Optimized partition workloads different for data and sequential logging
  • Two predefined backup policies, ZFS appliance (7 day retention) and cloud storage (30 day retention)
  • The managed backup philosophy is a weekly full backup, and daily incrementals
  • Sane default MySQL configuration (my.cnf)
  • Patching notification and capability. Automated backup before patching, and rollback capability
  • The Ksplice Oracle UEK functionality for improved host uptime with security vulnerabilities or kernel improvements

Overall an A effort on paper in V1 with the willingness to be useful, sane and flexible. In a future post I will evaluate the actual MySQL cloud capabilities with the available trial.


Features and functionality I see missing from V1 during this presentation. Some are features I would like to see, some are just observations, and some are likely present features but not discussed. I will leave it up the reader to decide which is which.

  • No MySQL 5.6. There was mention of supporting two versions in future moving forward (i.e. 5.7 and 8)
  • Separated MEM configuration and management. See my later thoughts on this.
  • MySQL topologies and easy to apply templates, including the future MySQL InnoDB Cluster
  • A longer archive storage retention capability policy for backups and/or binary logs (e.g. for compliance reasons)
  • The size of the pre-defined dedicated logging partition and binary logging may be problematic for longer retention capacity
  • Provisioned IOPS capacity or performance guarantees for Disk I/O
  • An ability to define MySQL configuration templates (e.g. dev, test, prod, master, slave etc) and be able to select these for a new instance deployment. You can of course manage this after the fact manually.
  • The compute workloads are more generic at present. There appears to be no optimized disk, network or CPU variants.
  • Improved key management being able to select an already defined SSH public key (e.g. with another instance)

Only offering MySQL 5.7 is an adoption impediment. This requires any organization with applications that are not greenfield to have already migrated to MySQL 5.7. I can understand the long-term rationale view here, but I see it as a clear limitation for more rapid adoption.

The details

The MySQL Cloud Service takes the hard parts out of managing MySQL. This is deployed in the Oracle Public Cloud, leveraging the fault-tolerant regional deployments in place. This Database as a Service (PaaS) helps to remove those annoying pieces of administration including backups, patches, monitoring etc. Powered by MySQL 5.7 Enterprise edition (the only cloud provider to offer this), the cloud system version in use is identical to the downloadable on-premise version. The Cloud service offers an initially optimized MySQL configuration of my.cnf to begin with, i.e. improvements on 5.7 defaults, and has variety of compute workload sizes to choose from. Storage is a ZFS appliance, but there is no information on provisioned IOPS for intensive workloads. You can use the web interface or REST API endpoints to create, deploy and manage your cloud instances. The REST API endpoints were not demonstrated in this session.

The predefined disk layout for storage is a very sane configuration. The Operating System (Oracle Unbreakable Linux 6 ) has a dedicated partition, (not part of sizing). There is a dedicated and throughput optimized ZFS LUN for data (what you size with the setup), a dedicated and latency optimized ZFS LUN for binary and InnoDB logs (which appears not initially sizable at present) and a dedicated ZFS LUN for backups. There is also a secondary backup storage capacity by default in Cloud Storage.

The UI interface provides the capability to configure a MEM server and a MEM client. To conserve presentation time Morgan consolidated these into his initial demo instance. I feel there is room here to optimize the initial setup and to separate out the “management” server capabilities, e.g. selecting your MEM configuration, and by default offering just the MEM client authentication (if MEM server is configured). For users not familiar with MySQL Enterprise features separating the definition and management in the initial creation stage is an optimization to remove complexity. There may even be an option for a getting started quick setup step that can provision your MEM setup in a dedicated instance when there is none detected or with a new account. Here is the flip side. An inexperienced user starting out may launch a MEM server with several test instances because the initial UI setup offers these as input fields, this is not the goal when managing multiple servers. The current version of MEM shown was 3.2, with 3.3 planned. Version 3.3. includes it’s own web interface for backup management.

Some things that are not in the initial release but I’m sure are on the roadmap. One is an upsize and downsize optimization. It would appear via the demo, that when a compute size modification occurs, the existing MySQL instance is shutdown and the VM is shutdown. A new VM is provisioned using the setup and disk partitions of the prior VM. An optimization is to provision a new VM, startup MySQL, then stop MySQL on new, stop on old, unmount on old, mount on new, and start MySQL. This removes the downtime in the VM provisioning step. Ideally I’d like to see the capability to perform this on a slave, and promote a slave more seamlessly. Practically however, this has many more moving pieces than in theory and so the future use MySQL router is a solution. The upcoming MySQL InnoDB cluster will also suffer from the complexity of resizing and uptime availability, especially when nodes are of varying compute sizes. As mentioned, I would like to see pre defined MySQL configurations. I would also like the option to pre-create multiple user authentications for instances, rather than having to specific one each time. I can see for a class of servers, e.g. a load test environment of a master/slave setup, and an application with several MySQL accounts, a means of bulk user and permission management.

Under the Hood Morgan talked about the InnoDB IO configuration optimizations, the number of IO Threads, use of O_DIRECT, the redo log size and buffer pool optimized to compute shape. The thread pool is enabled by default. The same considerations are in place for the operating system, Oracle Linux 6 UEK, MySQL task priority, memlock, and ext4 filesystem.

Again, those unfamiliar with MySQL Enterprise features will need greater help and UI help understanding the features, capabilities and configuration of Firewall, Encryption, Authentication, Audit, Monitor, Backup and Thread Pool.

The SSH access is what gives this first release control to be flexible. You can modify the MySQL configuration, incorporate configuration management processes. You can utilize on system database restore capabilities. You can monitor physical resource utilizations. I am unsure of the total control of changing (or breaking the system and the kernel).

There was a lot to digest in the 45 minute practical demonstration session. I am sure as with more reading and evaluation there will be more to share. As the roadmap for MySQL InnoDB cluster develops I can see there being a good cadence on new features and functionality released for the MySQL Cloud Service.

My Live Tweets (as the presentation was happening)

Oracle MySQL Public Cloud landing page

MySQL Operations in Docker at Oracle Open World 2016

One of the Monday tutorials at Oracle Open World was MySQL Operations in Docker. A 2 hour tutorial by Giuseppe Maxia. This tutorial showed what you can do with MySQL on Docker which is specifically good for testing. Some key points from the tutorial included:

  • Differences between containers and Virtual Machines (VM)
    • VM are mutable architecture, you start then modify
    • containers are an immutable architecture
  • Containers are not micro-services
  • Understanding about the “official” MySQL docker image. (Hint: Use mysql/mysql-server, not mysql)
  • The issues of specifying a required password to install MySQL on a container
  • Understanding how to use volumes, for a file (e.g. /etc/my.cnf), or a directory (e.g. /var/lib/mysql)
  • How to produce a more secure MySQL installation using files
  • How to get MySQL 5.0,5.1,5.5,5.6,5.7 and 8.0 on #CentOS, #Ubuntu and #debian for #docker using his own minimal MySQL docker images. (NOTE: MySQL images by Oracle, Percona and MariaDB are only the current version)
  • MySQL Group replication demo (mysql/mysql-gr)

Giuseppe performed his demos on a dedicated Linux machine. My attempts to reproduce the tutorial steps on Mac failed, as mentioned because of issues with volumes. MySQL Group Replication with Docker on Mac is also unpredictable.

In summary, Giuseppe talked about how wonderful Docker is for development and testing but not advisable for production. Some of the questions regarding production concerns included the inability working with orchestrators, stability with volumes and overall container user security. In addition, a tough audience question “How do you upgrade MySQL in production using containers?” highlighted that this technology is evolving, and while becoming ideal for stateless applications, it is not ready for primetime for databases that require state to operate.

Get the Code Examples on GitHub.

Docker has become a popular technology for containers starting in 2013. It did not invent containers, A Brief History of Container Technology gives a timeline of technologies that have got us to where we are today.

MySQL Keynote at Oracle Open World 2016

Tomas Ulin made a number of key announcements at this year’s State of the Dolphin and Customer Experiences keynote. MySQL Public Cloud, MySQL 8.0 DMR, MySQL InnoDB Cluster, MySQL Group Replication (RC). Some tweets and points of the keynote:

There were also user stories by Nicolai Plum – Senior Systems Architect at and Andrew Archibald – VP of Development at Churchill Downs.

Nicolai talked about how booking has evolved over the years starting with the traditional MySQL replication model, moving to a more complex sharded and partitioned architecture, and now a re-architecture towards a loosely coupled, write optimized and read optimized data model leveraging Redis queues. This work has enabled services to hide the complexity and need for developers to write SQL and leverage better data translation and interoperability, e.g. MySQL to Hadoop to MySQL. is actively using MySQL 5.7, and is evaluating how to incorporate the new features of MySQL 8.0.

Andrew talked about how uses a multi data center master-master replication setup with MySQL 5.6 to manage critical availability needs for online wagering of horse races around the world. During peak times, load can increase 100x, similar to my own experiences handling 100x flash sales Improving performance – A full stack problem.

I have yet to discover how to deep link to this presentation at the OOW 2016 agenda to enable viewers to read the overview and speaker profiles.