Handling the Challenges of MySQL Performance in the Pandemic


Author: Robert Agar

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the reliance that the world puts on resources available through websites. Though some of the information available on the web needs to be looked at skeptically, the majority of the population in developed nations makes extensive use of the Internet as a major resource. With much of the world sheltering-in-place to some degree, the benefits of the web have never been more evident.

Many websites make use of MySQL databases as the backend of their applications. In numerous cases, the societal changes imposed on the public by the coronavirus has led to increased traffic on sites that provide services ranging from unemployment benefits to placing a pickup order at the grocery store. The systems behind these websites are challenged to provide the level of performance and availability demanded by their visitors. The job of keeping the databases performing efficiently falls to an organization’s database administrators.

The Internet is Getting Stressed Too!

There is no denying that the coronavirus has elevated just about everyone’s stress level. The uncertainty associated with the spread of the disease causes real health concerns that threaten to linger for the foreseeable future. As if worrying about a contagious and potentially deadly disease was not enough, the economic ramifications of social distancing have impacted a large percentage of the population. For many people working in certain sectors of the economy, there is no easy answer looming on the horizon.

The use of the Internet has exploded due to COVID-19. Businesses have hastily implemented remote work capabilities for their employees where possible. Commercial websites are being deluged with requests for goods to be shipped directly to consumers. Entertainment options have been relegated to streaming sites and education is being offered online to keep students engaged. Of course, healthcare facilities are heavily invested in websites to maintain data on patients and disseminate critical information to the public.

Online entertainment giant Netflix has reduced its streaming bit rates across Europe to help avoid overwhelming the networking infrastructure. They agreed to reduce their traffic on European networks by 25% for 30 days to help cope with the strain caused by the virus. While this change may affect the quality enjoyed by some streamers, many end-users will not notice any service degradation. Other streaming services may also have to make these kinds of concessions to keep the Internet from getting bogged down in traffic.

Statistics that show the change in Internet habits from January and February of 2020 compared to this April clearly demonstrate the increased demand resulting from our battle with the virus. General traffic is up 25.4% with page views increasing by 28.9%. Online transactions are up an incredible 42.8% during this time as people try to access goods and supplies from their homes.

An example of the strain put on specific websites can be seen in a COVID-19 testing website that went live in late April in the UK. The number of test kits available at the site was limited to 5,000 per day and was reached within the first two minutes of operation. A government spokesperson said the capacity would hopefully be increased to 18,00 tests per day in a week.

Helping Your DBAs Manage the Surge

MySQL has long been the database platform of choice for many websites and online businesses. Under normal circumstances, it can be difficult to provide the level of performance demanded by the organization and its customers. In these abnormal times, the task can seem to be impossible without the right tools to help address the surge in usage.

SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL is a monitoring solution for the MySQL and MariaDB platforms. It can be an extremely useful tool for DBAs responsible for keeping databases performing under the strain of additional users. The tool assists your database team with physical and virtual MySQL servers located in your data center as well as instances offered by cloud providers. DBAs can address current and potential issues before they lead to degraded database performance.

The agentless architecture of SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL eliminated the need to install components on monitored servers. Unified and customizable dashboards can be created to view the complete MySQL environment or focus on specific instances. Problem queries can easily be identified in real-time by the DBA team so they can be properly addressed.

Flexible alerting capabilities keep your team apprised of disk space and availability issues that can be mitigated before they become problems. Metric thresholds can be set to generate alerts on critical aspects of your MySQL environment. Alerts can be sent via email and can be integrated with Syslog. Security risks such as attempts to gain unauthorized entry can also be monitored with appropriate alerts sent when necessary.

Your database team needs to know what’s going on with their MySQL servers if they hope to keep them running at peak efficiency. SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL is the right tool to provide that information and keep your organization’s databases available for its end-users. It can help relieve a little bit of the stress we all are feeling these days.

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