October 25, 2014

Introducing Percona Cloud Tools for MySQL

I am proud to announce Percona Cloud Tools, the next generation of tools for MySQL.  I have been developing tools for MySQL for 10 years.  For the last 5 years, I have been developing Percona Toolkit (formerly “Maatkit”).  Almost 1 year ago, we began developing Percona Cloud Tools (PCT), first in-house, then in private beta, and now in public beta.

Here is the TL;DR:

Percona Cloud Tools is a web service, hosted by Percona.  There is a single cloud tool (a web app) called “Query Analytics”, based on pt-query-digest, so one could say it’s “continuous slow log analysis through the web, as a service”.  Of course, the web enables us to do more and make things easier.  Sign up is free, but space is limited during the public beta, so sign up now!

Here are the details:

Why “cloud tools”?

Putting aside debates about what “the cloud” is or its usefulness, it’s a fact that there are people and businesses who run MySQL and want to run it well, but they don’t want to know or handle the details; they want to focus on their core business.  It’s the same reason people let Google handle their email: they don’t want to know or handle the details of an SMTP server.  Until now, almost all MySQL tools have been command-line based (yes, there are a few GUI tools).  Even if a command-line tool is easy to use, it still requires knowing how to use it, and this often requires knowing more than a little something about MySQL in general and one’s MySQL setup in particular.  As a result, a business may hire in-house DBAs, or hire MySQL support or remote MySQL DBAs, or “wing it”, or it do nothing.  Wouldn’t it be nice if tools for MySQL were simple point-and-click web apps that hid the details and simply delivered the results?  We thought so, and so have other people and businesses.  Thus, Percona Cloud Tools was born.

What does it do?

Today we launch a single cloud tool: Query Analytics.  This tool continuously analyzes the MySQL slow log, saving the data for some period of time (during the public beta, it’s 8 days), making it available through the Percona Cloud Tools web site for you and anyone else in your organization.  We chose Query Analytics as the first tool because it’s a wide and well known industry practice: finding and fixing slow queries to increase (dramatically, sometimes) MySQL performance.  Notice that I did not say commonly done practice.  This is another reason we chose to make this cloud tool first: we regularly hear and are told something like, “Slow query analysis is really important, but we don’t do it.”  The practice is as easy as possible with pt-query-digest, but it’s a command-line tool, so easy or not it’s not something some people and businesses want to know.  So we set out to make the practice even easier.  With Percona Cloud Tools all you have to do is install the client-side agent, click a few buttons in the web interface, wait for the data to arrive, and voilà: you’re continuously analyzing the slow log.

How does it work?

That depends on how much detail you want to know?  In very general terms, the client-side agent (pt-agent) runs pt-query-digest on your server at intervals, securely sending the aggregated data over the web to the PCT API which processes it further, making the final results available through the web front-end (https://cloud.percona.com) for you and everyone in your organization.  Now that the service is public, we’ll be discussing its details more and more, expanding and documenting the API, etc.  We’re also in the process of changing some behind-the-scenes details because we have learned a lot over the last year of development.  Consequently, details are subject to change, but the gist is the same: client-side agent, API, web interface/app front-end through which everything is controlled and all results are shown and shared.

Is it free, open-source?

The agent is free and open-source, like all Percona software, but Percona Cloud Tools itself is a service, not software in the traditional sense.  PCT is free during beta, and it will always be free to try, but eventually we will have paid-for plans.  It’s like GitHub: it’s always free for public repos, but private repos require a paid-for plan.  So don’t worry: you’ll always be able to try every cloud tool for free, maybe not with a year of data from a thousand servers, but with useful limits that will allow you to meaningfully evaluate the capabilities of Percona Cloud Tools.

Where can I learn more?

For general questions, please email cloud-tools@ Percona’s domain (percona.com of course).  We’re using JIRA for issue/bug tracking.  The Percona Forums will have a section for Percona Cloud Tools.  If you’re a Percona customer, you an contact us through the standard support channels (Percona Customer Portal, phone, Skype, email, etc.).  We’ll be blogging and talking more about the service, so stay tuned to this blog and other Percona channels (Twitter @percona, etc.).  And, of course, you can simply sign up at Percona Cloud Tools and try it out–it’s free, but space is limited!

Anything else I should know?

Yes, thank you for asking.  First of all, we have been developing, testing, and running PCT in-house and with private beta testers for several months.  The system is safe and it works, but like any complex system in beta, wide-spread real-world usage is going to break it in ways we haven’t imagined.  Please bear with us and don’t hesitate to submit bugs or contact us.  Second, as I hinted at earlier, we’re already working on some behind-the-scenes changes, including a second cloud tool.  So stay tuned and let’s stay in touch because this is just the beginning; we have lots of plans and ideas!  Third and finally, Percona Cloud Tools is a very large undertaking that no one person alone can achieve, so I would like to thank the following groups and people:

  • Thank you to the developers (Ismael, Pablo, and Kamil) who sometimes work long hours and weekends to bring to life every aspect of Percona Cloud Tools.  There is simply no product without the code to turn ideas into reality.
  • Thank you to contract developers we have worked with this year.  It’s difficult to jump into a large project and deliver results in a short time, but you did it.
  • Thank you to the private beta testers who took valuable time from their already busy work lives to talk with us and try and re-try the product.
  • Thank you to everyone at Percona for continuing to innovate and having the patience and vision to create a new generation of tools for MySQL.

Sign up for the free Percona Cloud Tools Beta at https://cloud.percona.com and let’s build some cloud tools together!

Comments

  1. Will this use only the query log or will it also reference the 5.6 performance schema – statement digest?

  2. Jonathan,

    We will support performance_schema in future,
    for now it is only slow-query-log.
    In our observations the adoption of 5.6 is still low, and most MySQL installations are 5.1 and 5.5 based

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