Even without attending the Percona Live conference in Santa Clara, you could tell something big was going on.
One way of measuring it was by looking at the flow of announcements. Here's a brief list, and apologies if I've missed anyone:
- Monty Program Announcing MariaDB 5.3. (and later Announcing MariaDB 5.5.23 GA)
- Tokutek Announcing TokuDB v6.0
- Twitter releasing its own MySQL fork
- Oracle announcing so many new features I can't list them all. But they made a TOC for it, and then announced a dozen more, not covered in the TOC.
- Continuent Announcing Tungsten Enterprise 1.5
- Zmanda announcing Recovery Manager 3.4
- And plenty of new partnerships between the major consulting companies
All within the first days of the conference.
What this means, over the surface
I read a post by someone who was ranting about Oracle making so many announcements just as the conference began. He obviously suspected there was no coincidence. I got the impression he was looking at it the wrong way: as if Oracle's announcements came to discourage the relevance of the conference.
I beg the opposite.
Obviously no one is insinuating the timing is coincidental. This does not mean, though, that by announcing new features companies try to undermine the conference. On the contrary: it's part of the celebration. The days of the conference are full of excitement. People are meeting, sharing experiences. It's a great opportunity to throw in a few more goodies and let everyone enjoy themselves.
No new development can make a conference's talk obsolete, as was insinuated by another's post. We all know it takes time for new released to become widespread. So it just adds up to the excitement that we not only have great fun now, but we are expected to enjoy new features to be stable by next year.
What this means, under the hood
To make my point even more interesting, consider that it takes a huge amount of energy to have a release, or a set of features to be released at a specific date. You won't hold out for a stable release for 4 months. You won't rush a premature release by 3 months.
It follows that many companies were planning these releases months ahead. Hold on. they were planning these releases months ahead to match the dates of the Percona Live conference. I don't look at this as undermining the conference: I see this as showing confidence in the conference. The conference will be great, so our announcements will play well!
Even more under the hood
There is really nothing special about it. You see this happening in other conferences as well. LinuxCon is full of announcements. MySQL's case is actually better. While Linuxcon suffers from premature announcements of new patches, with keynotes and sessions describing those patches, patches that are quickly discarded a few months later, we do happen to work with stable projects and products. No one is immune from the forces of economy, but we usually enjoy reliable announcements.
And, an interesting phenomena is created: we get a release cycle.
Everyone is eager to announce something at the conference; so we get to expect releases on the conference. With Oracle throwing another conference this fall, we can expect even more announcements. Not unlike Ubuntu's release cycle - April & October, Tick Tock, Tick Tock, it's time for a release.
For all these I congratulate Percona on a job well done!