Sunday, January 17, 2016

MySQL Support People - The Next Generation

My first post in this series caused quite an active discussion on Facebook. Readers correctly noted some mistakes in dates and missing names in the list. I've corrected some of the mistakes already and will correct some others later. What was also noted is that initially support for MySQL was provided by developers (this is really important, we'll get back to this later), and of them many had never even got a title of Support engineer. Of those who had not I listed only Monty...

I just want to explain why I made these mistakes and/or why I (intentionally) had not listed developers etc. First of all, I based my post on my memories (so I could be also wrong about start dates and many details) and that's why I could not list those whom I had never closely worked with. I worked with Monty while in Support and he was involved, to some extent, into my work on the problems that were interesting for me, and he provided support well before I joined. That's why he is in the list. My posts are not about the history of MySQL (or even the history of MySQL Support) - they are about MySQL Support as I was introduced to it in 2005 and about people who made it look and feel as I understand it now - the best, most efficient and useful service for MySQL users.

There are pure managers among these people, those who had never reported any MySQL bug in public probably and rarely (if at all) resolved any pure technical problems for customers. They well deserve separate posts, but here I want to name two of them who played the most important role from my point of few: Tom Basil (Director of MySQL Support in MySQL and Sun till 2008) and Peter Farkas (Director of Support in Percona till 2015).

Now it's time to get back to the topic of this post. "The Next Generation" are engineers who started to provide support for MySQL some time in 2005 or later, when the system as I remember it (created mostly by those named in the first post led by Tom Basil) was already in place, with Eventum as an issue tracking system, public bugs database managed by Support, SOP in place in Wiki, SSC duties defined, and so on. I probably have to include myself into this new generation as well, but this series is not about me.

So, these great engineers joined MySQL Support in MySQL and/or Sun (that had not changed that much in the way we worked, mostly accepted and appreciated our experience) after me or before me, but whom I consider the "next generation" for sure. There are really famous people in MySQL world among them:
  • Geert Vanderkelen - he actually joined in April, 2005, so before me, as Senior Support engineer and MySQL Cluster expert. I just do not understand why I missed him in the previous list and no one corrected me. His list of public bugs reported (I see 171!) is quite impressive. He keeps reporting bugs in public, check Bug #79621, the last one he recently reported. Some day in 2011 he got tires of Support (this happens to many creative people) and moved to development where he works on his Connector/Python project, now in Oracle. 
  • Raymond DeRoo - I think he was already working in Support when I joined in 2005. At least there is his bug report dated 2004 and bug reports marked as affecting customers dated early 2005 (check, for example, Bug #9731). I see 11 public bug reports from him. It was really nice to spend time with him online and in real life, as he was just awesome and always funny. He had disappeared from the team probably at the end of 2007, then he was in Europe for some, presented MySQL-related topics at conferences, worked for I am not sure what exactly is he doing now.
  • Mark Leith - he had became an essential team member immediately when joined, some day in 2005 after me. With this Oracle database background he helped to make the entire MySQL more aware about Oracle database, related tools and approaches (before him there was only Peter Zaitsev who created many worklogs obviously inspired by Oracle, and me, "Oracle agent in MySQL", the rest of the company mostly pretended Oracle never existed, non-standard or they do not care about it, at least until Oracle acquired InnoDB at the end of 2005...). He was a manager of AMER Support team in MySQL and Sun. Mark had reported a lot of bugs in public (I see 177) both while in Support and later when he led MySQL Enterprise Monitor development. Check one of his recent bug reports, Bug #76049. For me he is also a "godfather" of Performance_Schema and father of sys schema in MySQL. Mark is a Senior Software Development Manager in Oracle now and still a very active community member contributing a lot with his blog and presentations.
  • Domas Mituzas - he is all times the greatest MySQL Support engineer I had ever worked with. I probably had to stop at this phrase, but as one of my main job duties used to be "PR manager for Domas" once, I'll continue. He managed to assign 14 issues per single 8 hours shift back in 2008, and resolve 7 or 8 of them completely by the end of that shift. During his first days in MySQL Support in 2005 he managed to teach customer from China how to use Chinese properly in Oracle RDBMS, while doing MySQL support. He managed MySQL in Wikipedia and had his own fork of MySQL maintained before most of current forks appeared. He reported some 53 or so MySQL bugs in public (check also his older account at bugs database), my all times favorite being Bug #12113, that allowed me to resolve at least a dozen of customer issues over years and was fixed somehow only in MariaDB 10.1 recently. He is well known as a speaker about MySQL and cool blogger. Check this his famous post about query cache! His work probably requires a book to describe it, not a post, and he is mentioned in the books. Domas, who joined MySQL Support in October, 2005 is a small data engineer in Facebook since 2009. I am proud that I worked in one team with him, honestly.
  • Chris Calender - he joined probably soon after me and he still provides support in MariaDB. He is an active blogger and bug reporter (I see 69 reports). Check his relatively recent Bug #71395. His posts on building MySQL and MariaDB from source on Windows helped me a lot back in 2012. I always had a huge respect to everything he did.
  • Morgan Tocker - now a MySQL Product Manager in Oracle (this seems to be a popular career path among former MySQL Support engineers...), Morgan joined MySQL Support back in January, 2006. He worked on MySQL in different roles and companies since that, including Percona where he was Director of Training, returning back to Oracle for MySQL Community Manager role. He is an active blogger and bug reporter (I see 41 public bug reports from him). Check his old Bug #28338 that is still "Verified".
  • Shawn Green - he joined MySQL in 2006 and had been a very reliable team member in AMER Support team from the very beginning, great SSC (no wonder, he served in the US Navy) and helpful friend to many of us. He had reported 25 bugs in public as far as I can see. Check his latest still "Verified" public feature request, Bug #74640. He is still a MySQL Senior Principal Technical Support Engineer in Oracle, even though he has enough problems to deal with outside of MySQL during last years.
  • Kyle Joiner - he joined in 2007 based on Shawn's recommendation and with the goal to help us with DB2 Storage engine support (MySQL used to work on IBM System i and use its DB2 database as a storage engine back then). He is probably the strongest MySQL Support engineer, literally. He was a great engineer and SSC in AMER Support (I always felt safe as weekend SSC knowing that Kyle is supposed to be on call, he was always ready to help). Kyle had reported 14 MySQL bugs in public. Check his Bug #48049 that is still "Verified". He quit Oracle to join MariaDB recently, where he is still a Support Engineer.
  • Sean Pringle - he joined MySQL Support in 2006 and worked in APAC Team that I always tried my best in cooperation with. He was a great Support Engineer and also was my guide in San Francisco and Cupertino when I visited USA for the first time in 2007. He left us in 2009 and worked in SkySQL later. I try to keep in touch and still hope to continue working with him one day in one team.
  • Tonči Grgin - he joined MySQL in March, 2006, during last (for me, in MySQL AB life) company meeting in Sorrento. We met in the airport of Munich and later Sinisa, who knew him for decades as a developer and MySQL user, just told me that I have to teach Tonči everything for him to be ready to work in the Bugs Verification Team by the end of the meeting. I did that, and he was my first successful student in MySQL Support. His is my family friend and I had an honor to visit his home near Zagreb and his father's home in Split. Tonči worked on processing bugs for various connectors and complex support issues related to connectors, and later, already in Oracle, he moved to development, to fix those connectors finally, and eventually he became a manager of MySQL Connectors team in Oracle. As far as I know that team recently disappeared and he is now working in Oracle on MySQL performance improvements on Windows. He was always active not only in processing bugs, but also in reporting them, so I see 67 he had reported in public. Check Bug #48228, still "Verified".
  • Sveta Smirnova - she joined probably in May, 2006, but back in Sorrento we were already discussing steps to hire her. As I insisted we should get her into the Bugs Verification Team, I've  got a task to be her mentor, and forced her to work on bugs even before she joined. Long story in short, she managed to follow my steps and do everything I did, but better, in MySQL, Sun, Oracle and now Percona, where she is my colleague and also a Principal Support Engineer. She also do a lot more than I did, as a developer, blogger and presenter at various conferences for years. She is well known as an author of a book on MySQL Troubleshooting published in 2012 by O'Reilly. She is famous. Sveta reported a lot of bugs, check also her older account, 256 in total. Check her latest bug report, Bug #79596. Awful bug, really... To summarize, I am proud to work with her these days, and she is a key member of our team in Percona now.
  • Todd Farmer had reported 327(!) bugs in public and is a very active blogger. He is one of they key contributors to MySQL Community for sure. He joined MySQL as a Support Engineer back in August, 2006 and then was AMER team manger. He was brave enough to step in as a Director of MySQL Support in Oracle back in 2010, and while he is not in my list of top 3 Directors of Support of all times, he still did a lot of useful things for MySQL Support in Oracle. Since 2013 Todd is a Director, Technical Product Management, MySQL in Oracle.
  • Matthey Montgomery - yet another great MySQL Cluster Support engineer and public bug reporter (I see 106 bug reports from him), he joined us in August, 2006. He is a Principal Technical Support Engineer in Oracle now and still deals with NDB. This is incredible! Check Bug #20924, one of his first bug reports that is still "Verified". MySQL had never been able to deal with data types properly, especially in explicit and implicit conversions... Topic for another post, sorry.
  • Johan Idrén - he joined MySQL Support in November, 2006, and worked on all kinds of issues initially, being very productive. Later he specialized in Merlin (a.k.a. MySQL Enterprise Manager now) and when Oracle acquired Sun he decided to move to SkySQL to continue doing MySQL Support. Recently he works as a Systems Engineer in DICE (EA Digital Illusions CE AB). I see 22 public bugs that he had reported, including Bug #28331 that is still "Verified". 
  • Susanne Ebrecht (now Holzgraefe) - yes, we have a family of MySQL support engineers who once worked in the company while not yet a family. Susanne joined us in March, 2007, and is actually of PostgreSQL community origin! She was an active bug reporter, I see 165 bugs she reported, so eventually she ended up in Bugs Verification team where we worked together. She worked mostly on bugs for GUI tools, and one of them is still "Verified", see Bug #55497. Susanne quit with her future husband Hartmut at the end of 2010, when they had either to join Oracle or move elsewhere. She is a consultant now.
  • Andrew Hutchings (a.k.a. Linuxjedi) - I thought he was with us in MySQL AB already, but quick check shows that he joined as MySQL Support Engineer for Sun Microsystems only in 2008. Andrew worked on very complex MySQL Cluster and C API issues. He also developed new features and bug fixes for MySQL and MySQL Cluster in his spare time. Andrew was one of only a few MySQL engineers to win a Sun employee recognition award. Later he had really hard times with Oracle and eventually quit to work on Drizzle. Andrew is a Technical Product Manager at NGINX, Inc now.
  • Gustaf Thorslund - he joined us in October 2007 and was Support Engineer specialized in MySQL Cluster and NDB API. He is probably the best one in anything related to NDB API. With long  breaks he took for parental leave, study etc, he is still working as a Senior (still?) Technical Support Engineer in Oracle. We always had a lot of fun discussing life, work, Ada programming and other matters (excluding NDB that I try to avoid by all means). I see he had reported 17 bugs in public, but they are all closed by now.
  • Gary Pendergast - he joined us in November, 2007, but some time after the meeting in Riga (and Sun's acquisition of MySQL) he had disappeared for a year, to travel in Europe. Probably it was early 2009 or so. He then came back when Oracle took over the team and eventually left in November 2011 to join Automattic, where he is still working on WordPress (and thus MySQL). He was a good Support Engineer in APAC Support Team. Check his blog.
  • Andrii Nikitin - he probably worked in MySQL as developer (of GUI tools) in 2007 already. Later he moved to Support and quickly became a great colleague for us. Switching roles is hard when you are already good in something, but he managed to deal with that as well as with many other hard problems in his life. He actively worked on bugs and I can see 86 bugs he had reported in public. Check his latest public bug that is still "Verified", Bug #77789. He is a Senior Principal Technical Support Engineer in Oracle now and is a core hard working EMEA Support team member.
  • Leandro Morgado - he joined us in Sun in 2008 and worked really well from day one in EMEA team. He used to be active bug reporter and I see 46 his public bug reports, including Bug #43523 that is still "Verified". He is still a Senior(?) Technical Support Engineer in Oracle.
  • Ligaya Turmelle - she joined us in April, 2008 and is well known as a full time Goddess, part time MySQL DBA, occasional PHP programmer and active member of both MySQL and PHP communities as a speaker at various conferences. She probably had several accounts in the public bugs database, but I was able to identify only two of them quickly. Check her Bug #67056 - it's full of words I am trying to avoid by all means, like NDB and memcached... I've got a chance to met her in person at Percona Live 2015 in Santa Clara and we had a drink (or two) together. She is a Principal Technical Support Engineer in Oracle now.
  • Rene' Cannao' - he joined us in Sun in August, 2008, and I remember him as a very capable and reliable Support Engineer in EMEA Team from day one. He had several accounts in public bugs database, so it's hard to aggregate all bugs he had reported over years, but there were many. Check his recent regression Bug #78680. He seems to be working for Dropbox now and also develops his ProxySQL software.
  • Trent Lloyd - he joined MySQL back in June, 2007 and since that time he works in Support (now he is a MySQL Principal Technical Support Engineer in Oracle), often on complex issues including those related to HA, DRBD and Pacemaker and tuning Linux for MySQL. I see 13 his public bug reports, including Bug #43775 that is still "Verified".
  • Mikiya Okuno - he joined MySQL in October, 2007, and was one of those few engineers who ran Japanese language support in MySQL (yes, we did that, with a separate project in Eventum and separate team of engineers in Japan that I worked with a lot!). He joined us from Sun to be soon aquired back by Sun with the rest of MySQL. Mikiya had reported 107 public bug for MySQL software. Check his Bug #65035 that is still "Verified". Mikiya is a MySQL Technical Analyst at Oracle now.
  • Meiji Kimura - he joined MySQL Support in September, 2007 and is a Support Engineer in MySQL KK, Sun and Oracle since that time. He is an active bug reporter and seems to have several accounts in public bugs database. Check his Bug #80018 opened today!
  • Roel Van de Paar leads QA in Percona now. With his 296 public bug reports he is a key contributor to MySQL quality in general. His first public bug report, Bug #41908, is still "Verified" and not fixed. Roel joined MySQL Support (already in Sun) in 2008 and was one of the key support providers in APAC team before he switched to QA. Roel contributes to community (and MySQL Support, indirectly) also with his numerous great posts in Percona's blog.
  • Oli Sennhauser - he was a MySQL Consultant from 2006 or so, but later in Sun he worked in MySQL Support for a couple of years, and I think he was great in this role. He reported 24 bugs recently (for some reason I think he had a second account as well), check the latest of them still "Verified", Bug #78898. Now Oli is a Senior MySQL Consultant and CTO at FromDual GmbH.
  • Bogdan Kecman - he joined us in October, 2007, specialized in MySQL Cluster support and quickly became one of the most useful engineers in this area. His knowledge of hardware also always impressed me. He is still in Oracle and now is probably a member of my former Bugs Verification Team there, as I see his name as bug assignee from time to time. He was an active bug reporter, with 44 bugs reported in public. Check Bug #44760, still "Verified".
  • Scott Noyes - he had joined MySQL Support in August, 2007 and had always been a very useful and reliable team member. I see 70(!) public bug reports from him, of them 49 under this account. Please, check his Bug #76072 reported last year and still "Verified". Scott is working in MySQL Support in Oracle.
  • Ben Krug - he joined back in December, 2007 and played mostly SSC and later TAM role for Facebook. He is a Senior MySQL Support Engineer in Oracle now. Ben was active enough bug reporter, but it's a bit hard to consolidate different accounts he seemed to use over these years to count all bugs. Check his Bug #70056 that I consider really serious for many users and customers who plan to upgrade.
  • Jonathon Coombes - he joined us in Sun in July 2008 as Senior MySQL Support Engineer, mostly to work on MySQL Cluster and MySQL Enterprise Monitor issues. He still works in Oracle and does more or less the same job as Principal MySQL Support Engineer. I remember him as a great team mate. He reported 45 bugs for MySQL software in public, including Bug #48789 that is still "Verified".
  • Roger Nay - he joined us in Sun in October, 2008. He worked a lot on MySQL Enterprise Monitor, as obvious from the list of his 42 public bug reports, including Bug #57574. But he was good in other MySQL software as well. Roger still works as a Senior (?) MySQL Support Engineer in Oracle. Not sure what is his current focus of interests though.
  • Donna Harmon - she joined us in Sun in 2008 and worked in AMER team. I see 15 public bug reports from her, including Bug #39618 that is still "Verified" (I'd re-check one day if the option mentioned there really affects the logging in 5.6 and 5.7). Based on her LinkedIn profile she is still working in Oracle, but she is probably not there for a long time. I am not sure what's up with her now, unfortunately.
  • Travis Rupe - he had actually joined in September, 2008, during good old Sun days. I remember him as a great colleague in AMER team, but I could not find any public bug reports by him, and I am not sure why is that so. In any case, he is one of the "Next Generation" dream team of MySQL Support. Travis is still working in Oracle now, as far as I know.
I have to stop for now. The post is already huge... This list may be not complete and I am ready to correct it and add new names based on your feedback provided either here in comments or on Facebook.

Stay tuned, next time I'll list those who joined MySQL Support only in Oracle, but still contributed (and still contributing) a lot for MySQL Community.


    Nice post Valeriy

  2. Thank you for the hint. It helped to fix the missing link and correct the text.

  3. Thanks for writing this, it's a nice read. And also for including me in the list! - Ben Krug

    1. You belong to the list, you are one of MySQL Support People, Ben!