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Looking into upgrading mysql on our development server to which is running 10.04 so is stuck at MySQL 5.1, as it appears there is no apt-get support for upgrading to 5.5 except by certain 3rd party PPAs.

So I'm looking for which route to take and what other people have done:

a. Follow a couple year old guide to manually install MySQL 5.5 and then invest ongoing time into manually downloading and installing security updates every month or two?

b. Upgrade 10.04 to 12.04, and from other peoples experience I work with spend several days working out the kinks of that large upgrade, then I'll have access to mysql 5.5 and easy apt-get installation of future security updates?

c. Switch from MySQL to Percona Server 5.5 and get all the benefits of that version of MySQL, plus easy apt-get updates with their PPA?

d. Something else?

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Which "other peoples experience" leads you to believe 10.04 -> 12.04 is difficult and causes problems? I've had flawless upgrades-in-place, ten times too. – Thomas Ward Jun 5 '12 at 19:45
Actually it's been coworkers upgrading their personal machines at home, mythtv boxes and such. Either way I think B looks like the best option and hopefully I'll have your upgrade experience and not theirs – xref Jun 5 '12 at 20:57

This should be a question you should ask your team. We decided to update Ubuntu but we tend to stick to the same OS once we choose it and only once switched from Fedora to Ubuntu when Ubuntu got useful (that was when 6.06 came out).

All of our servers that are in use with data for our clients are updated to 12.04 as soon as we felt it was worth it. We have 3 identical servers synch'd (ie. MySQL data replication, synching our software) where 2 are setup as automatic fallbacks if the main one drops out.

The 2nd fallback machine we took offline and informed out clients we'd be running on 1 fallback machine for the next 12 hours as a regular maintenance action. Updated it to 12.04, updated our software and tested the system for a fair amount of time. The update to 12.04 went flawless by the way.

We then made it play catch up, turned it into the main machine and did the same actions for the 2nd and 3rd machine. Zero downtime. We could have run into trouble if the main and fallback systems would drop out but if that happens 999 out of a 1000 times it is just 1 machine (and hell would break loose).

In short...

So B would be my option. It is a proven method so less risky than option A. Option C might be an option but switching OS might be more of a hassle (for us it would involve serveral days, weeks of checking if everything works the way we want it).

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Thanks for this post Rinzwind, very helpful. Also I'd mention Percona Server is a fork of MySQL and adds a lot of performance related tweaks, not an actual OS itself (tweaked my post to show that) – xref Jun 5 '12 at 20:48

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