O’Reilly MySQL Expo 2011: It’s All Relative

Last week I made my way to Santa Clara, CA for the O’Reilly MySQL conference. I’ll admit I was a bit anxious, not knowing what to expect. I felt like a small company developer that was going to play in the big leagues. I was hoping to fill in the gaps of my self-taught MySQL skills, but didn’t know if it this was the right conference for that. I soon learned, as one colorful speaker put it, it doesn’t matter how big your database is, it’s how you use it.

While the conference was generally geared towards database administrators as opposed to developers like myself, I was honestly surprised with how willing everyone was to share tools and resources. The enthusiasm and sense of community there was one of the main takeaways from the conference.

Baron Schwartz’s talk, “Building Strengths, Learning Differences”, discussed the status of MySQL and urged the community to work together to build more efficient databases. Baron identified the current database paradigm shifts and challenged the community to work together in securing the future of MySQL. Sessions like Baron’s not only filled in the “gaps” in my knowledge, they also showed me the bigger picture of the MySQL community. One of the most entertaining sessions was put on by Facebook. It was incredible to see how they are using the database to support their product. It allowed me to see where the industry is going and what the MySQL platform needs to survive.

Needless to say, I was impressed. I spent three days immersed in the conference, not even bothering to leave the hotel. I felt at home there, surrounded by my people. Seriously, only at a database conference would I witness a ten minute debate over the synchronous or asynchronous opening of a soda pop. It was pretty sweet.