Business insight from the MySQL Conference 2010

At this year’s conference, I was pleasantly surprised with the high level of interest in Open Query’s proactive services for MySQL and MariaDB, and specifically our focus on preventing problems, while explicitly not offering emergency services.

I’ll describe what this is about first, and why I reckon it’s interesting. When you think about it, most IT related support that includes emergency (24×7) operates similar to this:

You have a house that has the front and back doors wide open with no locks, and you take out an insurance policy for the house contents. After a short time you call the insurance company “guess what, the most terrible thing happened, my TV got stolen.” Insurance company responds “that’s dreadful, you poor soul, let us fix it all up for you with getting a new TV and installing it. It’ll be our pleasure to serve you.” A few weeks later you call the insurance company again “guess what …” and they help you in the same fabulous way.

You get the idea, it’s rather silly because it’s very predictable. If you leave your doors open, you’re very close to actually being the cause of the problem yourself and insurance companies tend to not cover you under such circumstances – yet most IT support arrangements do. If IT support were actually run like insurance, premiums would be based on a risk assessment, and consequentially most companies would have to pay much higher premiums.

Much of this is actually about company processes as much as the technical setup. Depending on how you arrange things in your business, you can actually be very “emergency prone”. Since company processes are notoriously hard to change, many businesses operate in a way that is fundamentally not suitable for Open Query to do business with. That’s a fact and we’re fine with it, the market is big enough. We have clients all around the world, but so far very few from Silicon Valley. My presumption was that this was due to the way those businesses are often set up, making them simply incompatible for our services. But a significant number of companies we spoke with at and around the conference were very interested in our services exactly because of the way we work, and so that to me was interesting news. A good lesson, making attending the conference extra worthwhile. It’s also a good vote of confidence in the way we’ve set up our service offering.

2 thoughts on “Business insight from the MySQL Conference 2010”

  1. That’s funny, the feedback I’ve gotten is “I’m so glad Pythian is around to help us fix the problems that plague us, even if they’re initially discovered in the middle of the night.”

    Having complete redundancy is a great idea, but cost-prohibitive for many companies out there. Pythian provides solutions that fix companies who are “emergency prone”, but also give the peace of mind of having experts oncall just in case.

    1. Hi Sheeri!
      Yep it’s different companies and it does depend on their business processes and other factors.
      Resiliency is not always the same as redundancy; in some cases it’s about a way of doing things rather than about hardware.
      In terms of cost, we don’t find building resiliency to be prohibitively expensive – what tends to be more costly is a company putting a whole infra in place without background knowledge on how MySQL operates efficiently. Also, in many cases companies have SLAs that simply won’t allow for down time. Thus resiliency is the only real solution in those cases.

      Anyway, different services (and service vendors) for different needs. Paul Vallee and I had a good yarn about this at the mysqlconf bar, reviewing how our clients work… we concluded that we do operate in a slightly different space.

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