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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Published by Alex Slotnick on 14 Jul 2015

Little Pluto and Its Big Data

The world’s scientific communities are abuzz today thanks to NASA’s New Horizons probe and its mission to Pluto, which achieved the closest approach of its flyby this morning and started collecting a wealth of new information on our solar system’s tiniest and most distant planet/not-planet. What did NASA share with us earthlings first? A picture, of course. The most glamorous profile ever recorded of Pluto, the King of the Kuiper Belt, graced the front pages of our newspapers and greeted readers with what will surely become an iconic shot.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 14 Jul 2015

Announcing Product Integrations and Partner Program

Dear all - we are growing, and we want you to hop on our train! We recently released product integrations with PagerDuty, VictorOps, Slack, and Hipchat so you can notify your team of all the (important) things. Last month, we announced Heroku support, and our partner program has just launched. In the words of Baron Schwartz, “Monitoring does not exist in a vacuum, and building strong relationships with other products and companies at a technical and business level is a priority for us.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 13 Jul 2015

TechSling Article: Why Database Downtime Eats Away at the Bottom Line

Speed matters. That’s why you’re willing to pay a dollar more for milk at the convenience store — it’s quicker than waiting in line at the supermarket. And that’s why you will lose business if your database slows down the customer experience. This is especially true of e-commerce websites. Forty percent of people won’t wait more than three seconds for a mobile shopping site to load. Amazon estimates it would lose $1.6 billion a year if its web pages took one second longer to load.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 10 Jul 2015

Are Your Data Systems a Technology Tar Pit

Are you still running yesterday’s database? Technology and workloads have changed, so it might be time to re-examine your trusty standby. But how do you determine whether the benefits of new data storage technology are worth the cost and effort of evaluating and switching? Perhaps you think your current data retrieval system is “good enough,” but that “just fine” system might be creating huge technical debt that could come back to haunt you.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 10 Jul 2015

Probabilistic Sampling With A Sketch

This is the second of two posts on sampling queries effectively. The first part is here. In the previous post, I explained that we observe rich and complex streams of events, something like the following multiplied by a million: And our goal is to choose a sample of those events that can help understand what typical and/or important queries look like. There are a number of challenges to achieving this: Rate limiting conflicts with biasing towards important queries Rate limits overall conflict with sampling rates of each kind of query Rare queries and frequent queries conflict Efficiency and correctness are a constant tradeoff The ideal approach is to sample a random event per time period per type of query, but our implementation wasn’t working as we wanted it to.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 6 Jul 2015

5 Database Monitoring Issues That Need Your Attention Now

As the old management adage goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” In the fast-paced world of IT, this more accurately translates to, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” When it comes to your database, a continuous monitoring system provides the foundation for progress: metrics. Without a monitoring system, it’s impossible to determine whether changes actually impact the system’s performance, availability, and functionality. Think of it like a science experiment: You wouldn’t trust research that didn’t measure the results.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 5 Jul 2015

Video Recording: Teams Are Systems Too

Earlier this year, Baron spoke at Velocity on how lessons learned from system performance can be applied to organizational structure. The talk, Teams Are Systems Too: The Theory of Constraints in Action, was largely inspired by Eli Goldratt’s book The Goal. We posted the slides last month, but if you would like to hear the talk, check out the YouTube recording below too.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 3 Jul 2015

Selecting Representative Samples From A Stream Of Queries

This is the first of two articles on sampling queries effectively. The second part is here. Sampling is hard. This is the title of a talk I gave at a meetup in Boston a few weeks back. But what’s so hard about sampling anyway? To begin with, let’s clarify what I mean by sampling. It’s a bit ambiguous because sampling could apply to a few different things one does with time series data.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 1 Jul 2015

The Database Specialization Backlash

If you have a team whose job is to safeguard your databases as a reaction to past incidents, in an attempt to prevent them from recurring, you might have a serious bottleneck you don’t even realize. Specialization almost always means dependencies that hamper teams, forcing them to ship more slowly. This is one of the reasons IT is chronically late and over budget. What can you do to solve this? One of the approaches to fighting this is making sure that everyone–devs and ops both–can inspect what production database systems are doing.

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Published by Baron Schwartz on 1 Jul 2015

How We Designed VividCortex For Agencies and Consultants

One of the decisions I notice acutely about other companies’ products is their user model. I always notice it, and it makes me either smile or grit my teeth. Companies get this wrong all the time. Right: a user account owns itself and is affiliated to a company/organization/etc. It may belong to teams and have various levels of permissions. But the person who created the account owns the account. Wrong: a user account is created and owned by, and depends on, an organization or company.

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Published by Preetam Jinka on 30 Jun 2015

Authentication with Middleware using Siesta

We recently added a token-based authentication example to the Siesta repository that provides an excellent starting point for building authenticated APIs using our lightweight HTTP handler library for Go. This example, modeled after our own internal API services, demonstrates features and practices that we’ve developed and found useful after using Siesta in production for many months. Here’s what you’ll see in this “meaty” example: Request identification and logging Token-based authentication Use of typed URL parameters Usage of a handler for some state, such as a database JSON responses “Pre” and “post” middleware chains Error handling and bypassing of handlers Walkthrough Many APIs use tokens to authenticate requests.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 29 Jun 2015

Success Story: VividCortex Improves Reliability at DC Energy

DC Energy is a trader in the commodities markets that relies heavily on MySQL. Since trading is time-sensitive, database management and minimal system downtime is a high priority. Prior to deploying VividCortex, DC Energy used query logs and custom tools, scripts and metrics to find and resolve problems. Internal tools did not provide a way to quickly review and assess the enormous amount of data available, and gaining insight into performance was time consuming.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 25 Jun 2015

Free Webinar! 5 Ways to Reduce Database Infrastructure Cost

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. Join us on July 9th at 2 PM EST (6 PM GMT), as Baron discusses database cost reduction. The key topics you’ll learn are: Evaluating your current efficiency. Determining if there’s an opportunity to lower your database costs.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 22 Jun 2015

Presentation: Sampling a Stream of Events with a Sketch

Last week, Baron Schwartz and Preetam Jinka presented at Monitorama. The presentation, Sampling a Stream of Events with a Sketch, addresses the challenges, available methods, and efficiencies of representative sampling. Check out the slides to view our solution, an “invented” sketch. If you would like to view the entire presentation, visit this link.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 23 Jun 2015

VividCortex Now Supports Heroku

In November, VividCortex introduced support for databases hosted on Amazon RDS. In the spirit of monitoring all of the databases on all of the platforms, we are excited to announce Heroku support. We now provide a buildpack that sets up agents for Containerized monitoring in a Heroku dyno. This works with PostgreSQL and MySQL, provided that pg_stat_statements or performance_schema, respectively, are enabled. We also support charting for Redis and MongoDB. You can find the full set of instructions in the README of the buildpack repo.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 19 Jun 2015

Install VividCortex with Chef and Puppet

VividCortex has a Chef cookbook and Puppet manifesto. The installation process of both is super easy. All you have to do is add your API token. The repos are opensource so please send us pull requests with improvements.

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Published by Anna Navatsyk on 17 Jun 2015

The Strategic Importance of Database Administration

If you draw a diagram of information flow and interaction amongst teams and processes in IT, you’ll probably find that although some parts of the organization are “leaf” or “edge” nodes, the people who manage the data are not. The DBAs would usually be one of the lavender circles in the chart below, not a blue circle. DBAs also occupy a central position in the continuum of skills: • On one hand, they have to understand a lot about how the application code works, because application developers are their customers.

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