Percona Live Featured Session with Alibaba Cloud – Flashback: Rolling Back a MySQL/MariaDB Instance, Database or Table to a Previous Snapshot

Percona Live Featured SessionWelcome to another post in the series of Percona Live featured session blogs! In these blogs, we’ll highlight some of the session speakers that will be at this year’s Percona Live conference. We’ll also discuss how these sessions can help you improve your database environment. Make sure to read to the end to get a special Percona Live 2017 registration bonus!

In this Percona Live featured session, we’ll meet Staff Engineer Guangzhou Zhang (who focuses on PostgreSQL), Staff Engineer Lixun Peng (who focuses on Replication), Senior Engineer Weixiang Zhai (who focuses on InnoDB) and Senior Engineer Xin Liu (who focuses on MongoDB) who are all from Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group.

Alibaba Cloud is holding a session called Flashback: Rolling Back a MySQL/MariaDB Instance, Database or Table to a Previous Snapshot. The talk will discuss how Flashback is currently implemented, what it currently can and can’t do, and what features are in the pipeline for future MariaDB/AliSQL releases.

I had a chance to speak with them about Flashback:

Percona: How did you get into database technology? What do you love about it?

Guangzhou Zhang: Database technology is fundamental to every IT system as it lays the foundation to provide persistency, concurrency and availability. What makes it even more attractive and exciting is in recent years, the “old” database technology has found new directions and innovations in today’s age of cloud computing. There is so much work that can be done fitting open source databases into cloud environments, or even innovating new “cloud native” database architectures in the public cloud.

Lixun: When I was in university, I found database theory very interesting. I decided to be a DBA after graduation. Then I studied lots of Oracle Database books. When I graduated, funnily enough, I became a MySQL DBA, which has meant that I have focused on MySQL-related work until now. MySQL is a great database, but it’s not perfect! I always have optimization requirements to enhance its performance and improve the functionality step by step. I have found it very interesting though and continue to be happy with what it makes possible. And now many of Alibaba Cloud’s users are using my code: this is a great feeling.

Percona: Your talk is called Flashback: Rolling Back a MySQL/MariaDB Instance, Database or Table to a Previous Snapshot. Why would somebody need to rollback a database instance?

Lixun: Anyone can make mistakes, include DBAs. After users mishandle their data, we need to recover from the failure as soon as possible. Then we need a way to recover the data from the correct snapshot, and if possible, do it online and fast. That’s why I have implemented the Flashback feature as it provides the ability to achieve this.

Percona: What are the issues you face rolling back an instance? How does Flashback help?

Lixun: We can, of course, recover data from the last full backup set and incremental binary logs, but if a user’s database is too huge, it could take a while! This is particularly frustrating as it can only be a small amount of the data that needs to be modified, but we still need to recover the whole database.

Flashback allows you to reverse the last misoperation from binary logs. More often than not this will be a small activity, so the speed is much faster than recovery from a full backup. And we don’t need to stop the instance server to do carry this out. That’s very important for the Cloud users.

Percona: What do you want attendees to take away from your session? Why should they attend?

Lixun: I hope the attendees of my session can learn how and why Flashback works, the best way to use it and when they should try to use it.

And Flashback still has some limitations that the users should be aware of. I plan to address these in future versions.

I contributed the Flashback feature to MySQL and MariaDB at the same time. MariaDB 10.2 released it. We are still developing the feature, and I want attendees to know what’s in the roadmap during my session.

Percona: What are you most looking forward to at Percona Live 2017?

Xin Liu: There are two things I’m looking forward to at Percona Live. Firstly, holding technical discussion groups around the subject of our talks or about other open source databases. Also, I‘m interested in other NoSQL-focused database topics, such as HBase, Redis, Cassandra, etc. I also want to learn more about its core storage engine, especially WiredTiger or MongoRocks (which are the MongoDB’s storage engines). Gathering more details, design information or ideas for improvements will bring benefit to for us and our work.

Lixun: The best thing for me is meeting with the best MySQL engineers at the conference. There are very few chances to communicate with the engineers from around the world about the latest technology, and share updates with each other.

Percona: Talk about your team’s other topics . . .

Lixun: The topic proposed by Xin Liu (Multi Active-Active and Disaster Recovery with MongoDB Database Center) demonstrates how we can recover a MongoDB cloud service from a disaster failure, even if we lost whole cluster of a region. Active-Active deployment is the typical way in our production environment, and we developed a system called “Lamda” for replicating asynchronous replication within each region.

The talk from Weixiang Zhai (Scale Read Workload by Sharing Data Files of InnoDB) will introduce how we changed InnoDB so that MySQL can be deployed on shared storage and we can provide the ability to scale out read-only workload.

Guangzhou Zhang (On Building Alibaba’s Public Cloud Database Service for PostgreSQL and MySQL) will talk about the problems we solved while fitting PostgreSQL engines into our public cloud database services. We introduced a lot of enhancements in the database engine to solve disk IO or memory isolation problems. The talk also includes a comparison of PostgreSQL and MySQL covering why and how to deal with them differently within our service.

Register for Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2017, and see Lixun present Flashback: Rolling Back a MySQL/MariaDB Instance, Database or Table to a Previous Snapshot. Use the code FeaturedTalk and receive $100 off the current registration price!

Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2017 is the premier open source event for the data performance ecosystem. It is the place to be for the open source community, as well as businesses that thrive in the MySQL, NoSQL, cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) marketplaces. Attendees include DBAs, sysadmins, developers, architects, CTOs, CEOs, and vendors from around the world.

The Percona Live Data Performance Conference will be April 24-27, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara and the Santa Clara Convention Center.

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