As database systems go, MySQL is relatively simple to use, and the effort required to bring up a MySQL installation and use it is modest as well. MySQL's simplicity probably accounts for much of its popularity, especially among people who aren't, and don't want to be, system administrators. It helps to be a trained computer professional, of course, but that's certainly not a requirement for running a successful MySQL installation.
Nevertheless, MySQL won't run itself, regardless of your level of expertise. Someone must watch over it to make sure it operates smoothly and efficiently, and someone must know what to do when problems occur. If the job falls on you to make sure MySQL is happy at your site, keep reading.
Part III of this book, "MySQL Administration," examines the various aspects of MySQL administration. This chapter provides a brief description of the responsibilities involved in administrating a MySQL installation, and the following chapters provide instructions for carrying them out.
If you are a new or inexperienced MySQL administrator, don't let the long list of responsibilities presented in this chapter scare you. Each task listed in the following sections is important, but you need not learn them all at once. If you like, you can use the chapters in this part of the book as a reference, looking up topics as you discover that you need to know about them.
If you have experience administrating other database systems, you will find that running a MySQL installation is similar in some ways and that your experience is a valuable resource. But MySQL administration has its own unique requirements; this part of the book will help you become familiar with them.