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Catapult MySQL with Pogo Linux - page 3

Just Add MySQL and Stir Rapidly

  • September 25, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

The DataWare server concept centered around providing a MySQL engine with strong performance and reliability. Every part of the package was checked and qualified against those two criteria.

A typical DataWare 2600 server consists of dual 2.4-GHz Xeons with 4 GB of memory. It attaches to a six-drive SCSI setup running RAID 10 on dual channels. One channel is used for each mirror and is normally 36 GB in size. The SCSI architecture differs from other Pogo Linux products (which are serial ATA based) and cuts down on deployment costs. A custom Linux kernel was optimized to work with the MySQL database engine.

The DataWare 2600 starts at around $9000, so clearly this is a product targeted for the enterprise. With that kind of price point, the value-add should be pretty special.

Part of that value added by Pogo Linux has been to step through all of the parts of the server solution and make sure everything was optimized. Logan said that the hardware was first selected to make sure it was stable and reliable. Then the machine was tested for speed. Next, the kernel was tweaked to see how various scenarios affected the speed of the machine. Finally, MySQL was installed and modified for maximum query cache speed, optimum use of buffers, etc. "The whole idea was 'How fast can we get this thing?'," Logan explained.

The concept of using a standardized hardware platform with optimized kernel and application modifications came when there was major shift in Linux thinking back in 1999. People were sick of the 'blue screen of death' failures on Win98 and NT. Linux offered stability and reliablity even then and has since offered value in other areas, like automation and easier administration. With Windows XP and 2000 being regarded as fairly stable these days, the "reboot" argument has all but gone away. Pogo Linux still continues to work with Linux since it is so easy to customize the Linux package for use on their server products.

These days, you can buy hardware from many sources--Dell, HP and small whitebox vendors. The big companies extensively test their hardware and software but, since they are commodity suppliers, they can't give high levels of support for customized solutions.

Small vendors, on the other hand, might not extensively test their hardware and software, but can give a high level of personal support (although it depends on the company). Pogo Linux bridges the two by offering extensively tested hardware and software platforms with strong personal service. They can work this seemingly impossible task by focusing on narrow niche markets like servers for MySQL databases.

Logan described that in the early days, Windows was a comprehensive setup on various hardware platforms. The package and applications vendors could find drivers, applications, etc. without too much trouble and offer solutions to their customers fairly easily. Then Linux appeared on the scene. Vendors soon found that while Linux allowed a lot of latitude for customization and tuning, finding drivers and troubleshooting applications still required quite a bit of effort. The situation has gotten much better in recent years, but given the complexity of a machine used as a Linux server and all of its capabilities, specific expert knowledge is still required. "Pogo Linux people pride themselves on a high level of Linux and technical expertise," Logan noted.

Everyone in the company gets into the total solution act. Logan said, "The first week of training for new sales people is building computers including the hardware, software, and applications." He said that exposing everyone in the company to the product, with hands-on experience, ensures that they can provide knowledgable support to their customers.

Successully supporting their customers in the middle-tier corporate and educational markets requires that Pogo Linux differentiate themselves from other vendors in a number of other ways.

"First off, no one else in the market today has an integrated MySQL solution that is certified by MySQL. Beyond that, the product itself provides a lot of advantages to customers. It dramatically reduces the time it takes to deploy a MySQL database because customers do not need to evaluate the individual hardware or software for the fastest solution. Also the OS and kernel have been specifically tuned for heavy MySQL loads. All of these configuration choices have been extensively tested to get the most speed out of the system," he said.

Another great advantage for customers is support. Instead of having to go through many different vendors to get support, a customer has to only go through one. By having a very close relationship with MySQL, Pogo Linux can solve problems faster and provide a more accurate solution.

And the company is not done yet.

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