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Link round-up

Recent links of interest…

I’ve heard that no less than four memcached start-ups have been recently funded. GigaOM speculates interestingly on whether memcached is good or bad for MySQL. It seems to me that in the age of cloud and hyperscale, we’re willing to sacrifice ACID compliance in many our transactions. RAM is cheap, and simplicity and speed are king. But I’m not sure that the widespread use of memcached in Web 2.0 applications, as a method of scaling a database, reflects the strengths of memcache so much as they reflect the weaknesses of the underlying databases.

Column-oriented databases are picking up some buzz lately. Sybase has a new white paper out on high-performance analytics. MySQL is plugging Infobright, a column-oriented engine for MySQL (replacing MyISAM, InnoDB, etc., just like any other engine).

Brian Krebs, the security blogger for the Washington Post, has an excellent post called The Scrap Value of a Hacked PC. It’s an examination of the ways that hacked PCs can be put to criminal use, and it’s intended to be printed out and handed to end-users who don’t think that security is their personal responsibility.

My colleague Ray Valdes has some thoughts on intuition-based vs. evidence-based design. It’s a riff on the recent New York Times article, Data, Not Design, Is King in the Age of Google, and a departing designer’s blog post that provides a fascinating look at data-driven decision making in an environment where you can immediately test everything.

Oracle in the cloud… sort of

Today’s keynote at Oracle World mentioned that Oracle’s coming to Amazon’s EC2 cloud.

The bottom line is that you can now get some Oracle products, including the Oracle 11g database software, bundled as AMIs (Amazon machine images) for EC2 — i.e., ready-to-deploy — and you can license these products to run in the cloud. Any sysadmin who has ever personally gone through the pain of trying to install an Oracle database from scratch knows how frustrating it can be; I’m curious how much the task has or hasn’t been simplified by the ready-to-run AMIs.

On the plus side, this is going to address the needs of those companies who simply want to move apps into the cloud, without changing much if anything about their architecture and middleware. And it might make a convenient development and testing platform.

But simply putting a database on cloud infrastructure doesn’t make it make it a cloud database. Without that crucial distinction, what are the compelling economics or business value-add? It’s cool, but I’m having difficulty thinking of circumstances under which I would tell a client, yes, you should host your production Oracle database on EC2, rather than getting a flexible utility hosting contract with someone like Terremark, AT&T, or Savvis.

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