Wednesday, March 06, 2019

dbdeployer community - Part 1: TiDB

After a conference, when I take stock of what I have learned, I usually realise that the best achievements are the result of interacting with other attendees during the breaks, rather than simply listening to the lectures. It might be because I follow closely the blogosphere and thus the lectures have few surprises in store for me, or perhaps because many geeks take the conference as an excuse to refresh dormant friendships, catch up with technical gossip, and ask their friends some questions that were too sensitive to be discussed over Twitter and have been waiting for a chance of an in-person meeting to see the light of the day.

I surely had some of such questions, and I took advantage of the conference to ask them. As it often happens, I got satisfactory responses, but the latest FOSDEM conference was different than usual, because I got the best experience from the questions that others did ask me.

As it turned out, others were waiting for a chance to discuss things over coffee or food, and I saw that my pet project (dbdeployer) is a lot more popular than I thought, and it is being used silently in several environments. It should not be surprising if you read several MySQL reports on bugs at where it is common the usage of sandboxes to reproduce user issues. Anyway, I got some praise, some requests, a few ideas for improvements, advance notice of an incoming graphical interface, and a few concrete collaboration proposals.

One of such proposals came from Morgan Tocker, who suggested enhancing dbdeployer to support TiDB. At first, it seemed uninteresting, as TiDB is designed to be distributed, and installing just a component didn’t immediately look useful. However, Morgan pointed out that it could be used as a tool to test compatibility with existing applications, and as such it could gain much more value than I initially thought. We decided to try a quick hackathon to make a proof of concept.

It was a great pleasure to figure out, in just over one hour of close interaction, that dbdeployer design for flexibility was up to the task. We managed to make TiDB work with dbdeployer simply by exporting, editing, and re-loading a few templates.

The exercise showed strengths and limitations in both projects. We agreed that dbdeployer had to lose some assumptions (such as “I am working with a MySQL server”) and become able to recognise which flavor of MySQL-lookalike we are dealing with. At the same time, we noted that TiDB is not compatible when it comes to deployment and bootstrap: it is so simple and straightforward that its initialisation doesn’t fit in the complex operation that is a MySQL server warm-up.

Pleased with the initial success, we kept in touch and, after dbdeployer acquired the ability of telling one flavor from another, we put together the various pieces to make dbdeployer recognise and install TiDB. We found and fixed several bugs in both project, and finally released dbdeployer 1.19.0, which can use a TiDB server transparently.

What does transparently mean? It means that tests for TiDB deployment can run alongside tests for other MySQL servers, and the sandbox scripts (such as start, stop, use, status, and test_sb) work as expected and produce a compatible output. Thus, there is a TiDB test running together with another dozen MySQL versions.

Now, if you want, you can evaluate TiDB in your computer without installing the full stack. It won’t be as fast as the real thing: what is installed as a single node is a slower emulation of the real database, but it is enough to give you an idea of what queries you can and cannot run in TiDB, and perhaps try to see if your application could run on TiDB at all.

The collaboration with TiDB was especially useful because the changes needed to smooth the TiDB integration have made made dbdeployer better suited to add support for more not-quite-mysql servers, such as the one that we’ll see in the next post.

But before reaching that point, here’s an example of TiDB deployment on Linux:

$ wget  
2019-02-24 04:46:26 (2.26 MB/s) - 'tidb-master-linux-amd64.tar.gz' saved [16304317/16304317]

$ dbdeployer unpack tidb-master-linux-amd64.tar.gz --unpack-version=3.0.0 --prefix=tidb  
Unpacking tarball tidb-master-linux-amd64.tar.gz to $HOME/opt/mysql/tidb3.0.0  
Renaming directory /home/msandbox/opt/mysql/tidb-master-linux-amd64 to /home/msandbox/opt/mysql/tidb3.0.0

TiDB tarballs doesn't come with a client. We need to use one from MYSQL 5.7. Rather than downloading the huge tarball from MySQL site, we can get a smaller one from a GitHub repository, using dbdeployer itself (NB: this reduced tarball is only for Linux)

$ dbdeployer remote list  
Files available in  
5.7 -> [mysql-5.7.24 mysql-5.7.25]  
8.0 -> [mysql-8.0.13 mysql-8.0.15]  
4.1 -> [mysql-4.1.22]  
5.0 -> [mysql-5.0.15 mysql-5.0.96]  
5.1 -> [mysql-5.1.72]  
5.5 -> [mysql-5.5.61 mysql-5.5.62]  
5.6 -> [mysql-5.6.41 mysql-5.6.43]

$ dbdeployer remote get mysql-5.7.25  
File /home/msandbox/mysql-5.7.25.tar.xz downloaded

$ dbdeployer unpack mysql-5.7.25.tar.xz  
Renaming directory /home/msandbox/opt/mysql/mysql-5.7.25 to /home/msandbox/opt/mysql/5.7.25

Now we are ready to install TiDB:

$ dbdeployer deploy single tidb3.0.0 --client-from=5.7.25  
Creating directory /home/msandbox/sandboxes  
Database installed in $HOME/sandboxes/msb_tidb3_0_0  
run 'dbdeployer usage single' for basic instructions'  
. sandbox server started

Once installed, a TiDB sandbox behaves like a MySQL sandbox.

$ $HOME/sandboxes/msb_tidb3_0_0/use  
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.  
Your MySQL connection id is 2  
Server version: 5.7.10-TiDB-v3.0.0-beta-111-g266ff4b6f MySQL Community Server (Apache License 2.0)

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Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.

mysql [localhost:3000] {msandbox} ((none)) >

1 comment:

Morgan Tocker said...

Thank you for the collaboration :-)

I think I am at least a couple of those examples of using dbdeployer/sandbox on It is very useful to be able to have multiple versions installed side-by-side and try a test case out on each.

This was another one of my motivations for TiDB support. Because TiDB GAs are on approximately a 6-month cycle, I need a tool to be able to manage multiple releases at once.