Meet the Experts: Bill Karwin

As we prepare for the fast-approaching “Percona Live: MySQL Conference And Expo 2013” April 22-25 in beautiful Santa Clara, California, we thought our community would benefit by meeting some of the Percona experts who will be in attendance. Meet principal MySQL instructor Bill Karwin, author of “SQL Antipatterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming.” Bill was interviewed by Percona community manager Tom Diederich.

Tom: Bill, our next big event, the “Percona Live: MySQL Conference And Expo 2013,” is fast approaching. In your view, what’s the most exciting thing going on now in the world of MySQL that attendees will benefit from attending?

Bill: The big news right now is MySQL 5.6. There’s a very long list of new features in 5.6 that will change the way we operate with MySQL installations. And by the time the conference comes around in April there will be more wisdom within the MySQL community about how to best leverage those new features – along with methods and techniques to make use of them in the best possible ways.

Tom: Who, in your view, should attend, and what will they get out of the experience? Why should they go?

Bill: The conference is the most efficient way for members of the MySQL community to interact and grow. This includes database administration professionals, system administrators, operations people and developers – and anyone else who is using MySQL or related technology. Attendees get to meet and hear from some of the best experts in the industry.

They’ll get exposure to a wide range of best practices, solutions and tools in the MySQL ecosystem that will enable them to be more successful in their jobs. They’ll learn new ways of solving problems – solutions that are being developed and made available by many different companies, not just Percona.

The other big value for attending the conference as opposed to say reading a book or viewing a webinar is the human element: You get to meet people. For example, you can attend the Hallway Track, as we call it, and meet people who can help you be ultimately more successful. These relationships are easy to strike up under the casual environment there. It’s an incredible timesaver in terms of getting connected to the best people and resources needed to solve work-related problems and challenges. That aspect alone more than justifies the cost of spending a few days attending a conference.

Tom: Many times an attendee comes to the conference with a specific challenge hanging over their heads that’s keeping them up nights. Will there be opportunities to get some one-on-one time with a Percona expert who can give them some advice, some coaching – help them get that pat on the back and a “job well done” from their boss?

Bill: Visiting the Percona Booth in the Exhibit Hall will be the best place to start. We’ll have technical staff on hand at all times to help answer questions: consultants, trainers and support people who are deeply aware of the best practices and the right mix of solutions to solve specific challenges.

In fact, many times we meet people at the booth, exchange some ideas, and then connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch there and also on the Percona community, whether on our discussion forums or our blog.

Tom: What’s the one thing you’d recommend doing at the conference that an attendee might not otherwise consider?

Bill: I’d suggest making time to attend talks aside from those specific tracks and events that directly pertain to their jobs. There will be many talks on cutting-edge things: new technologies, case studies – all pertaining to MySQL successes MySQL – and those can be just as valuable because they can give you a new way of looking at your problem. It’s a way of expanding the range of possible solutions the attendee can bring back home for future consideration.

Tom: Most company-sponsored trade events are for their customers, but Percona Live isn’t just for Percona users -- it’s for everyone using MySQL or related technologies. It’s not a Percona fan club, in other words – it’s an open source community event.

Bill: Absolutely. We got some great feedback about that last year following our first conference back in April 2012. We made a specific effort to invite all of the MySQL vendors – even those who in some people’s eyes would be our competitors. We invited everyone because we wanted to ensure a genuine open source community event, and that all voices were heard and represented. And we’re doing that again this year.

Tom: Bill, thanks very much for your time and see you in April!

Be sure to register now for the Percona Live: MySQL Conference And Expo 2013!