"The" MySQL Conference 2012 Call for Papers

There's now 2 weeks left of the Call for Papers for Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo (Santa Clara, CA). This weekend I've been finalizing my abstracts for submission and I trust many of you are doing the same. (If nothing else, do it for the free entrance! Or because you're passionate about MySQL, yeah, that's what I meant...)

This is the main annual MySQL event, so I thought it is worth the bandwidth to use these two weeks for some discussion and brainstorming. We are the MySQL community, it's up to us to make this a great conference now! This year I'm on the program committee, so I'm looking forward to reviewing many, many great proposals. At the same time, I'm interested to hear what you, dear readers - and hopefully future conference visitors - are interested in seeing at the conference? I'll share my ideas here and you can share yours in the comments or if you prefer you can email me at henrik.ingo [at] avoinelama.fi.

Btw, I should start by linking to two classics from Baron Schwartz blog: How to get your session accepted to MySQL Conference 2008 and How to write a good MySQL conference proposal (2009). Baron is on the committee also this year, I'm sure his advice will get you far.

So, here for some ideas:

Don't forget the obvious: New feature X in MySQL 5.5, 5.6.... It's important to point this one out. Usually new (or old) features are presented by the developer himself, or a product manager type from the same company. For the past 2 years Oracle employees have (unfortunately!) been strictly prohibited to submit proposals for this conference. Those 2 years Oracle has eventually showed up and presented talks, but who knows if that will happen again or not. (I have no inside information into the politics of this whether this year or previous years.) Even if it does happen again (we can always hope), at least I will give preference to a talk that was actually submitted within the deadline.

So this is a great opportunity for anyone that wants to present something and needs an idea: Anything that's new in MySQL 5.6 and even just MySQL 5.5 is a good topic for a talk. Somebody needs to do it, and it could be you! Note that just because MySQL 5.5 has been GA for a year now doesn't mean you can't talk about the new features in it. At OSCON I visited the MySQL BoF and out of 30+ people in the room only 4 had ever used semi-sync replication (one of which was the person who wrote the code and one was yours truly), and many had not even heard about it! So that's certainly an idea for a talk (at least for OSCON then :-).

The basics: SQL syntax, indexing, partitioning, normalization... This is a large conference with hopefully more than a thousand attendees. The Percona Live events are known for high quality and really advanced talks, but let's face it: Not everyone wants to hear about (or is able to understand) InnoDB mutexes or your favorite NoSQL-to-MySQL interface. There needs to be some amount of talks just about basic DBA and developer tasks and best practices. You know you can do such a talk!

In this category, here's another old blog post about 2 great talks (by Kai Voigt and Baron Schwartz) that you might think are mundane and everyday stuff for you, but that I as a listener/reader really remembered as special.

The forks/variants. And not just MySQL, Percona, MariaDB, Drizzle. We also want to cover the other storage engines and closed source variations: Infobright, Calpont, Tokutek, Scaledb, Schooner, Scalebase... I'm sure I'm forgetting half of them. (I'm not even mentioning replication friends like Tungsten and Galera, but they kind of apply here too...) The MySQL ecosystem is richer than ever, and this needs to be visible at the conference.

Here you might think that those that produce these products will anyways give such talks and you as an average DBA has no change with such a proposal. Not so! Well, I don't know about the others on the committee, but from my point of view it is actually more interesting to hear from someone who used the technology with success - but including the "warts and all", that's the best part. The vendors will get a talk in the sponsor track anyway, don't you worry about them.

The stack around MySQL. A few years ago I felt like there were more Memcached and Gearman talks in the MySQL conference than about MySQL itself. Now those are household names, everyone knows about them and they are kind of boring. So what's there to talk about now? Linux tuning for MySQL. Continuous integration with MySQL. Automated deployments and change management with MySQL. Backups with MySQL. Ngingx, Varnish and Node.js and whatever new cool kids you've played with. THE CLOUD, of course... The scripts and toolkits that keep the universe together (a reference to Perl and/or duct tape). Again, if you're a DBA of a non-trivial MySQL installation, and you've done anything from the above list, you probably have some interesting stories to share. Just because something is routine for you doesn't mean it is that for anyone else. Just because you know how to use puppet with MySQL, don't expect that anyone else knows. (...because I don't, if you'll teach me how to automate a rolling upgrade I'll come to your talk, I promise...).

Performance, performance, performance. From multiple cores and SSDs to InnoDB and SQL tuning to caching and PHP and Java performance. This topic never goes old. You need to have impressive graphs from benchmarks (or production!) to really impress. Becnhmarking and performance tuning is a science: we want the numbers!

XtraBackup Manager. If your name is Lachlan and you are working on a really cool backup management tool, you need to submit a talk about it. I can see the submissions and this is not there. You cannot hide, the world deserves to know.

What else is there to talk about? What would you want to hear about? What would you like me to talk about? Feel free to add to the list.

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