Look out, Oracle: SkySQL and MariaDB join forces

Look out, Oracle: SkySQL and MariaDB join forces

Summary: Oracle's MySQL may be the most well-known open-source DBMS, but now, MySQL's creators are together again with the merger of MariaDB and SkySQL.


When Oracle bought Sun, one of its reasons was to gain control of MySQL, the most popular open-source database management system (DBMS). It didn't work. Some of MySQL's founders and top programmers had already left to create the MySQL fork, MariaDB, while others started SkySQL, a MySQL and MariaDB support company. Now, the old core MySQL developers have rejoined forces.

SkySQL is now MariaDB's champion. (Image: SkySQL)

On April 23, SkySQL announced that it had signed a merger agreement with Monty Program Ab, MariaDB's parent company. The aim of this new company, which will go under the name SkySQL, is to develop MariaDB into a truly interoperable "NewSQL" open-source database in collaboration with its customers, partners, and the community. The community side will continue as the MariaDB Foundation.

According to the newly merged company:

MariaDB is truly open source and is compatible with the MySQL database while providing new extensions and features. Customers and users move to MariaDB for its performance. It is uniquely capable of interfacing with NoSQL database systems like Cassandra and LevelDB, as well as to access data in other formats thanks to pluggable storage engines. This allows customers to leverage the capabilities of the latest database technologies as well as access data in legacy systems without expensive and risky database migrations. This merger brings cloud and big data capabilities together, which will enable the new company to become an interface for fellow open-source technology providers.

MariaDB will continue to be open source, according to Simon Phipps, the new CEO of the MariaDB Foundation. SkySQL is also joining the Foundation. Phipps said, "It is a pleasure to have a company representing the reunited core team of our code base joining the Foundation at its inception. The MariaDB Foundation welcomes SkySQL as a member. Throughout this time of change for MariaDB, they have been a great source of encouragement, and the commitment today's news shows to the MariaDB Project is especially welcome."

Michael 'Monty' Widenius, author of MySQL and MariaDB, said in a statement:

I'm ensuring that the MariaDB project will remain 'open source forever', while knowing that enterprise and community users of both the MySQL and MariaDB databases will benefit from best-in-breed products, services, and support provided by SkySQL. And who doesn't want the best for their kids?

Patrik Sallner, SkySQL's CEO, added in the same statement: "By bringing on board the talented MariaDB developer team, SkySQL proposes a comprehensive partnership to leading open source database users. We are committed to develop MariaDB into the most versatile open source database. We look forward to working with the MariaDB Foundation as they engage with developers and users of MariaDB, as well as with their important mission of ensuring the independence of the MariaDB project itself."

Now, you might think, "That's all very well and good, but Oracle is a multi-billion Goliath of a company. How can SkySQL hope to compete?" Actually, MariaDB, its primary DBMS is already doing extremely well.

Major Linux distributions, such as Fedora and openSUSE, are moving to MariaDB. It's not just fellow open-source bodies, though, that are supporting MariaDB. WikiMedia announced on April 22 that they have completed the migration of the English and German Wikipedias to MariaDB. Why? Because, MariaDB is faster.

Wikipedia site architect, Asher Feldman, wrote:

For our most common query type, 95th percentile times over an 8-hour period dropped from 56ms to 43ms, and the average from 15.4ms to 12.7ms. 50th percentile times remained a bit better with the 5.1-Facebook build over the sample period, 0.185ms vs. 0.194ms. Many query types were 4-15 percent faster with MariaDB 5.5.30 under production load, a few were 5 percent slower, and nothing appeared aberrant beyond those bounds.

With those kind of performance gains, Oracle, after its poor last quarter, may be the company that really needs to worry.

Sallner will lead the merged company as CEO, while Widenius will be the MariaDB Foundation's CTO. The merger is expected to close in about four months. Commercial terms were not disclosed.

Related Stories:

Topics: Data Management, Open Source, Oracle

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  • Actaully what it really means -

    Neither are doing well, so joining forces makes them look better.
    • Isn't it funny

      Linux critics are always complaining about some perceived problem with Linux or Free/Open Source Software "fragmentation".

      But when two projects join forces, that's also seen as evidence against FOSS, too.

      Well, that's just par for the course -- the arguments against FOSS have always tended to be of the "any stick will do" variety.
      • If they were doing well -

        Neither team would have wanted to combine with the other.

        The resources required to keep up with commercial software is incredible, so two projects splitting resources = poor performance and low usage.

        Combining simply means they are trying to catch up.

        You can complain about the realities of life all you want, but it does little good.
        • Synergy between SkySQL and MariaDB?

          Perhaps they're not interested in catching up with Oracle's 'open-source' MySQL because they've already caught up with it. In fact, they may be looking to surpass it.

          Cynical99 wrote:
          "The resources required to keep up with commercial software is incredible"

          Don't forget that MySQL is, nominally, still open-source software that is developed by a commercial entity, Oracle. It's just not 'open' enough for some in the open-source community.

          There's an alternative to your statement, as follows, "the resources required to keep up with open-source software is incredible". Take the Apache Software Foundation's open-source Hadoop project as an example:

          "Microsoft drops Dryad; puts its big-data bets on Hadoop

          Dryad was Microsoft's attempt at a commercial product for big data.

          Depending on the particular software, either statement can be true.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • You can debate this until the cows come home

            but we'll never know what's really inside the heads of those signing the agreements. My opinion is that since neither project is doing all that well, probably having trouble attracting the programming resources needed to push hard into the future, they combined to stop splitting resources and have a chance to stay relevant. The reasons could also be that they just aren't that popular and need to combine to stop splitting resources, and gain a larger user base to remain relevant.

            I take it your opinion will continue to differ, so we'll agree to disagree.

            Steven's information is always highly unreliable, as he tries to be a master spin doctor, so the only reliable item is that they are combining.
  • Nothing lost for Oracle, it can still re-use MySQL

    to retrofit their Oracle database. Because MySQL can handle lowercase characteres. I am wondering if Oracle is still stuck with the 7bits data format. If it is the case, it can also benefit from MySQL technologies. Overall MySQL will help Oracle to bring their customers up to date with 21st century: Unicode and no longer need to use a keyboard with permanent caps lock key.
  • This merger appears to be complimentary

    With so much forking in the open-source community, it's rather nice to see some consolidation, people and resources joining forces. Consolidation is something that open-source can use a bit more of.

    Not only will SkySQL be competing with Oracle's 'open-source' MySQL, but also the open-source PostgreSQL/EnterpriseDB as well as various proprietary DBMSs (e.g., Microsoft's SQL Server).

    P.S. Am neither stating nor implying that all forking is bad. Sometimes, it's necessary.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Having used both MySQL and others...

    It's like using a Volkswagen Beetle when what you want is a Lexus. Heck, even a Nissan would do. MySQL and MariaDB are way behind in things like encryption, intrinsic SP language features, flat file storage (either binary or XML or whatever "non-primitive"), and security. The only competition that Oracle db (not MySQL), MS SQL Server, or even IBM's DB2 have in the *real* enterprise space is the emergence of NoSQL because it addresses things that RDBMS's have traditionally lacked. Really, only IBM with their Lotus Notes (document store) history (surprisingly) is in a position to capitalize off this expertise... and they have.
    • ????

      So all those companies - and there are scores - using MySQL in the Enterprise are failing? Wow.

      All the open source db's have their strengths and weaknesses; it's up to IT leaders to do their homework and determine the best fit.
      beau parisi
  • Facebook: Close To A Billion Users

    How many of your precious "enterprises" run databases as large and active as Facebook? And guess what DBMS it uses?

    That's right--MySQL.