February 12th, 2014


Migration, Pt. I: The Database Dance

For a veritable laundry list of reasons, I'm migrating my documentation server at work from one VM farm to another, and in doing so, moving from Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (uptime 370 days) to openSUSE 13.1. Sadly, I'm also wading hip-deep into the bane of my professional preference, the database. Yes, I prefer flat files. Its a shortcoming of which I'm painfully aware.

How my mind works fascinates even me. I've often wondered if I'm just dumber than my co-workers (most probable given I work amongst geniuses), or if I have some elusive, yet-to-be-discovered gift (less likely given my age) which offsets the fact that I have to re-learn the same highly-technical things (As opposed to, say simple physics) over and over and over when I don't utilize them. There is one affably-hyper-super-smart coworker who can remember detailed, nuanced configurations he worked on once, years ago. I remind him often not all of us have the mind of an engineer. Then there is the architect who is visibly aghast when I don't recall building a specific server from the countless servers I've built over the many, many years I've been building servers. Personally I like to think its because I reserve that area of my brain for having things like, "a personality." That said, it takes a diverse group of skills and personalities to do what we, as a group, succeed at day in and day out. Nothing at all would ever get done if everyone was exactly like me.

So each time I have to delve into mysql (now MariahDB) its like a brand-new experience. Granted, that's a little tongue-in-cheek. I remember how to log in, and to create databases. But that's usually about it...until I start working with them again, then I seem to remember more commands. A little more is retained each time, and the learning curve less steep. Databases look like they'd be a lot of fun actually, were it not for the forlorn DBAs wearing pickled faces they keep in jars on the shelves of their respective homes each day.

Migrating smf (my documentation platform) is as easy as upgrading the application, upgrading the database, manually backing up the database, moving it and the application to an upgraded system, restoring the database, and changing all the absolute paths within the tablespaces. What could go wrong?