Published by Baron Schwartz on 31 Aug 2015

Integrating VividCortex with Pagerduty and VictorOps

It’s easy to integrate VividCortex with your existing workflow and team tools. Two of our growing list of integrations are with PagerDuty and VictorOps. If you’re not familiar with these products, they are SaaS solutions just like VividCortex, designed to help manage the workflow after an incident is opened: routing, message delivery, on-call rotation, scheduled maintenance, escalation, and more. (If you’re building these things yourself, you’re probably Doing It Wrong). Integrating VividCortex into these powerful tools is quick and simple.

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Published by George Michie on 31 Aug 2015

3 Ways to Lose Your Best Software Developers

Earlier this month Baron published a post on The 8 Best Ways to Lose your DBA, which created a good bit of buzz, some of it a little controversial. Admittedly, the satire in that original post was pretty dry at points (even with Office Space’s Lumbergh tossed in for flavor), and we realized that this is an important enough topic that we ought to follow up with a companion piece, this time in earnest.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 28 Aug 2015

VividCortex's Time Selector Feature

In this blog post, we continue looking at video demos of VividCortex’s key product features. Last time, we saw Top Queries in action, and today we’ll check out the Time Selector, which controls the amount of history the application displays. VividCortex always shows data for a range of time, and the Time Selector is a powerful tool that allows the user to customize that range dynamically and view data in as particular a scope as necessary.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 26 Aug 2015

7 Databases We'd Love to See Released to the Public

Last week we blogged about how the Museum of Modern Art released a CSV file with an enormous cache of data, giving the public access to information about 125,000+ pieces of art. By sharing that data under the Creative Commons license, the museum offered the world the power to spread that knowledge without risk. MoMA’s publication of their database was a huge boon to scholars and art lovers, plus a fantastic endorsement of open information.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 20 Aug 2015

Send Custom Metrics to Vividcortex

Did you know that you can send custom metrics to VividCortex easily? It’s not something we’ve focused on, but it’s been possible to do since the beginning. One of our agents is a StatsD, which means you can send metrics to it easily with any StatsD client (or none–because it’s easy to send metrics to it from a shell script too). The main difference between our agent and a typical StatsD is that you can send us one-second resolution data and it won’t immediately fill up disks on a Graphite server somewhere and crash it.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 19 Aug 2015

The Fine Data of Fine Art

Here at VividCortex, it’s clear to us that proper database monitoring is “an art.” Beyond simple, raw power, navigating and understanding a database takes finesse, insight, and, often, a kind of eloquence. On special occasions, though, the artistry of database monitoring becomes a little bit more literal, and we get to see how the functions of big data can be applied to the actual world of Fine Art. Such is the case now: this summer, New York’s world-class Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) decided to publicly post an enormous CSV file on GitHub, which contains various data sets for more than 125,000 pieces in the museum’s collection.

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Published by Mikhail Panchenko on 19 Aug 2015

A Database Upgrade Story: Cassandra 2.0

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Mikhail Panchenko from the Opsmatic team. Thank you for sharing, and we hope others find it helpful! A Real Life Database Upgrade Story This post recounts a recent Cassandra 1.2 to 2.0 upgrade performed by the Opsmatic team. It’s a fairly complete narrative of the thought process, research, and preparation that was involved. We hope that it helps others about to embark on the same terrifying journey.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 17 Aug 2015

Own Your Data, Own Your Management

Why DBAs are Canaries in the Coal Mine If yours is a data-driven organization, your DBAs probably face significant challenges to executing effectively. These typically include the following: The scale and growth of the data. You know that data is big and growing fast, but you might not realize that DBAs are often expected to handle it without an increase in resources. In other words, the data-to-human ratio is growing rapidly.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 14 Aug 2015

The 8 Best Ways To Lose Your DBA

As we all know, good DBAs are a dime a dozen. They’re easy to replace and the cost of replacing them in terms of lost productivity, downtime, recruiting, training, etc is minimal. You may even suspect that your DBA(s) aren’t very good since there is occasional downtime and people complain about the systems running too slowly. Firing people is icky so we’ve identified 8 great ways to encourage your DBA to leave.

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Published by VividCortex on 13 Aug 2015

Brainiac Corner with Camille Fournier

The Brainiac Corner is a format where we talk with some of the smartest minds in the system, database, devops, and IT world. If you have opinions on pirates, or anything else related, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Today we interview Camille Fournier, the current the CTO at Rent the Runway. Follow her on twitter @skamille. How did you get from stork to brainiac (i.e. what do you do today and how did you get there)?

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 12 Aug 2015

In Case You Missed It - Breaking Databases - Keeping your Ruby on Rails ORM under Control

Object-relational mapping is common in most modern web frameworks such as Ruby on Rails. For the developer APIs, the ORM provides simplified interaction with the database and a productivity boost. However, the layer of abstraction the ORM provides can hide how the database is being queried. If you’re not paying attention, these generated queries can have a negative effect on your database’s health and performance. In this webinar, Owen Zanzal discussed ways common Rails ORMs can abuse various databases and how VividCortex can discover them.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 11 Aug 2015

Facebook's Charity Majors Says VividCortex Is Impressive

A few months ago, we featured Charity Majors, the production engineering manager for Parse at Facebook, on Brainiac Corner. We are featuring Charity and her expertise once again. This time, though, she is reviewing VividCortex: from installation to problem solving to a feature wishlist. One of our favorite takeaways: “And VividCortex is a DB monitoring system built by database experts. They know what information you are going to need to diagnose problems, whether you know it or not.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 10 Aug 2015

Election Money and Data

So far, the early drama of the 2016 presidential race has been more silly than substantial. Donald Trump has been a (successful?!) one-man show, Hillary has been playing coy, some candidates have been getting trolled (much to Reddit’s delight), and, this week, Fox News has announced its first Republican debate line-up, which somehow seems more akin to the guest list for a popular 7th grader’s slumber party than presidential grooming. But there’s been one topic of conversation that’s been deadly serious and that is sure to stay on people’s minds: campaign finance.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 7 Aug 2015

Find Queries By Error Code With VividCortex

VividCortex now lets you search for queries that cause a specific error in your application. The error code itself will be database-specific, but for example error 1062 in MySQL is a duplicate key error, and in PostgreSQL error 23503 is a foreign key violation. One of our customers requested that we add this feature so they could search for queries that cause UTF8 issues, which is a great example of when this can be useful.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 5 Aug 2015

The Top 10 Most Inappropriately Misappropriated Lyrics For Monitoring

As I flipped the channels in my car, Josh Groban’s soulful voice floated over my speakers and caressed my very soul, singing about our shared timeless yearning to solve the monitoring problems that plague us all: I can’t cage you in my arms When my heart is jumping forward To avoid your false alarms “These lyrics are so deeply meaningful to me!” I thought, reaching for the box of Kleenex. SING IT, Josh!

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 4 Aug 2015

Inspecting All The Metrics With VividCortex

Someone asked me the other day about some of the more obscure metrics available from a database server’s internals, and wanted access to those. As it happens, we have a feature that lets you see every metric on your systems—yes, every metric, which is typically many thousands, sometimes millions. First, though, let’s look at what this user was examining. We ship VividCortex with a prebuilt set of templates for graphing popular systems, to reduce time-to-insight as much as possible.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 3 Aug 2015

VividCortex's Top Queries Feature

Today’s post kicks off a new blog series looking at videos that demonstrate some of VividCortex’s key capabilities. In this first post, Baron Schwartz examines Top Queries, one of VividCortex’s most popular features, and how it can help find and solve performance problems inside a given application. Baron uses Top Queries to look at VividCortex’s own production systems, which involve more than fifty servers, and demonstrates the impressive level of granularity the feature makes available for examining queries.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 28 Jul 2015

See VividCortex in Your Server's Time Zone

Similar to databases, the modern IT team is often distributed. As remote work increases and employee locations span the globe, it becomes difficult to keep everyone on the same page. Our latest time zone update is a step toward this goal. In the past, all the dates and graphs have been shown in the user’s time zone. VivdCortex has members in Charlottesville and Montevideo, which adds a level of complexity. If you have members in San Fransisco, Auckland, and London, communicating can get really complicated.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 29 Jul 2015

Streaming Music Services and Databases

The average American consumer isn’t usually interested in “buying” a big database. But thanks to the recent boom in the popularity of subscription music services like Spotify, databases are competing for folks’ cash more directly than ever before. After all, what are these services other than giant banks of media, made accessible and sleek? The summer of 2015 has brought the battle for music-lovers’ wallets to fever pitch, with the launch of Apple Music and Tidal, both poised to challenge the reign of top-dog Spotify.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 21 Jul 2015

Webinar Recap - 5 Ways to Reduce Database Infrastructure Costs

Are your databases more costly than they need to be? If you’re not sure, this webinar will show you how to find out, quickly and easily, with KPIs that indicate overprovisioning or opportunity for driving more efficiency from your databases. If there is an opportunity to run your databases at lower cost, you’ll find out how to identify which of 5 key areas offer the biggest chances for improvement, and a specific action plan to get results fast.

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Published by Alex Slotnick on 21 Jul 2015

VividCortex's 12 Most Popular Blog Posts of All Time

Here at VividCortex, it can be exciting (and humbling) to take an occasional step back and revisit some of the great work that’s been done in our offices over the past couple of years. Our blog in particular has grown quite a lot. We’re finally at a point where we can look over the steady stream of articles we’ve published and the manifold topics covered, and we can point to a few in particular and say, “Niiiiice.” But our opinions don’t count for much – it’s you, the faithful VividCortex blog readers, whose say-so really matters.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 20 Jul 2015

What Is InnoDB History List Length?

Houston, we have a problem. Google search for “What is innodb history list length?” and you get a bunch of nonsense mixed in with correct information, and it’s hard to tell which information is right. Let’s fix this. What is InnoDB History, Anyway? InnoDB is an MVCC storage engine, which means you can start a transaction and continue to see a consistent snapshot even as the data changes. This is implemented by keeping old versions of rows as they are modified.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 16 Jul 2015

Big Data Visualization

The Open. The historic foundation of the major championships. Played on one of the iconic courses throughout Great Britain’s lush hills. The intensity is palpable as golf’s greats compete for the coveted Claret Jug. Every drive, chip and putt matter. Players are a birdie away from glory and a sandtrip away from irrelevance, and this year, big data is at the heart of this age old tradition. The NTT Data Wall brings fans across the globe a uniquely immersive experience.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 16 Jul 2015

Introducing VividCortex's New Summary Dashboard

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a new default dashboard for VividCortex. It’s the first thing you’ll see when you sign into the VividCortex web app. Why a new dashboard? Simple: reduce the time-to-insight as far as possible. We capture and analyze an incredible amount of data, but it can be overwhelming for a person, especially someone new to VividCortex, to make sense of it. We want our customers to be able to instantly see and understand what’s happening in their data tier.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 15 Jul 2015

Why We Love CircleCI

We are pretty much raving fans of CircleCI and we are not ashamed to say it. Here’s why. What Does CircleCI Do For Us? It would be reasonable to describe CircleCI like this: continuous integration and testing compiles our code for us automated QA But that misses the point, because what they really do is they help us delight our customers. And they don’t just provide tools or ingredients or recipes for this.

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