Cluster Certification, Why?
MySQL just released the MySQL Carrier Grade Edition, which is a special edition of MySQL Cluster that is especially targeted at the telecom market. A large number of people attended an online webinar about this edition, clearly showing that MySQL Cluster fills a gap in the marketplace. (Download webinars here)
In MySQL version 5.1, a number or important additions and improvements have been made to the cluster technology. MySQL Cluster is becoming increasingly popular, and new features such as disk-based storage and cluster master/slave replication are likely to increase its popularity even more.
Thanks to Jon Stephens, the MySQL Cluster documentation in the reference manual has radically improved and expanded, and even the cluster API as been documented.
All in all, the time is right for MySQL AB to introduce a MySQL Cluster certification product, in addition to developing a new training course for MySQL Cluster 5.1.
Who should be interested?
By offering a Cluster certification, we are providing an instrument for employers to recognize those professionals that are sufficiently equipped to install, design, configure, tune and monitor a MySQL 5.1 Cluster. Any MySQL DBA that has set up a MySQL cluster once, can testify that it takes more than just traditional MySQL DBA skills to manage a production MySQL Cluster.
Based on the judgments of our own MySQL Cluster developers, our experienced trainers as well as MySQL Cluster DBAs from the community, we feel that passing the cluster certification exam is a pretty solid indication that a DBA will be successful in managing a MySQL cluster. Failing the exam almost certainly means that the necessary knowledge and experience are lacking in certain areas, and that it will take more training, time and efforts to acquire these.
MySQL Cluster certification can be attained by MySQL 5.0 Certified DBAs that want to distinguish themselves from traditional DBAs. We require that candidates are already MySQL 5.0 Certified DBAs, because a lot of the skills required to manage MySQL Cluster necessitate deep knowledge and experience about MySQL database administration. Simply put, we believe that it is impossible to be a good MySQL Cluster database administrator without being a good MySQL database administrator. The exam would become too lengthy if we would have to cover the normal DBA topics such as backup and recovery, security and performance tuning too, and therefore we require proof that these skills have already been acquired.
The MySQL 5.1 Cluster Certification exam
I expect the exam to be generally available in March 2007. As soon as the details are known we will announce cluster certification in a more formal manner, but the price and the procedures for signing up and taking the exam will be pretty much as ususal.
Like all exams, the MySQL 5.1 Cluster Certification exam will cost 200 $US. Candidates will be able to sign up for a certification exam on the Pearson/VUE website, and take it in one of their testing centers. If you are coming to the MySQL Users conference, you can take the exam for 25 $US instead of 200 $US.
The exam itself consists of 70 multiple choice questions, which have to be answered within 90 minutes. An important difference with the prior exams is that the cluster exam is completely homogenous. Each question has exactly 4 answers, and only of those must be selected. So, no more "check all that apply", it's always: "pick-one-out-of-four".
For an outline of the exam contents, take a look at the relevant section of the MySQL Certification Candidate Guide
The MySQL 5.1 Cluster Certification Study Guide
I already mentioned a study guide is being prepared for the cluster certification. It is a great pleasure for me to introduce you to the authors:
- Jon Stephens, technical writer for MySQL AB. Jon is also author of the MySQL Cluster documentation in the reference manual and the NDB API documentation.
- Mike Kruckenberg, Co-Author of Pro MySQL and a professional Database Administrator
- Solomon Chang, founding member of LAMPSIG of Los Angeles and a professional Database Administrator
- Stewart Smith, Software Engineer for MySQL AB and part of the MySQl Cluster development team.
I'm really greatful for this mix of members from the community and employees from MySQL AB. It just could not've turned out any better! Note that both Stewart and Mike will also be speaking at the MySQL Users Conference and Expo: Mike will be talking about the MySQL information schema, and Stewart will be doing quite a number of sessions on MySQL Cluster.
Currently, the study guide is being reviewed by the external reviewers. We can't disclose all details concerning publication, pricing and availability yet, but to give you an idea, here are the contents at a glance:
- Part I: Foreword and Introduction
- Part II: Components and Processes
- Cluster Concepts
- Architecture and Organization
- Cluster Processes
- Part III: Usage
- Software Configuration
- Cluster Management
- Part IV: Internals
- The NDB Storage Engine
- Performance and Tuning
- Part V: Data Safety
- Cluster Backup and Recovery
- Cluster External Replication
- Part VI: Problems
- Security Issues
- Troubleshooting and Problem Solving
- Part VII: Appendices
- Schemas and Configurations used in Examples and Exercises
- MySQL Cluster Glossary