Google quietly dumps Oracle MySQL for MariaDB

Linux distributors have been moving from Oracle's MySQL to its popular fork, MariaDB - and now Google is also moving to MariaDB.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Despite being the most popular open-source database management system (DBMS), Oracle's MySQL has been sinking into trouble. Major Linux distributions like Red Hat and SUSE, are switching it out for its fork, MariaDB. Major Websites, such as Wikipedia, have also replaced MySQL with MariaDB. Now, adding insult to injury, Google is moving to MariaDB from MySQL.


As first reported by The Register, Jeremy Cole, a Google senior systems engineer announced the news at the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference in Stanford, CA as part of his MySQL presentation  (PDF Link). A Google spokesperson said, "Google's MySQL team is in the process of moving internal users of MySQL at Google from MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 10.0. Google's MySQL team and the SkySQL MariaDB team are looking forward to working together to advance the reliability and feature set of MariaDB."

This news wasn't surprising to Google open-source watchers. Sources at Google had said for some time that Google was moving to MariaDB. Earlier this year, Google assigned an engineer to work on MariaDB.

The Register reported that Cole said, "We're running primarily on [MySQL] 5.1 which is a little outdated, and so we're moving to MariaDB 10.0 at the moment," in his MySQL talk.

According to The Register, the MariaDB Foundation has been working with Google since the "beginning of the year" to help migrate Google's internal DBMS servers to MariaDB. SkySQL , the company that backs MariaDB, CEO Patrik Sallner is reported to have said that Google is "moving many of their applications that have been previously working on MySQL off to MariaDB. We've also been collaborating with them to develop features in MariaDB to enable the migration."

Specifically, Google is moving to its own customized version of MariaDB 10.0. This version of MariaDB is equivalent to MySQL 5.6. Google's version of MariaDB, according to Cole, is "Not really true 'forks' [but are] branches for internal use." He added that Google had been making its own tweaks to the MySQL DBMS family for years.

Reading Cole's presentation it appears that there are several reasons why Google is shifting to MariaDB.

First, while Cole, and Google, "value stability and performance over fancy new features. Oracle doesn’t always feel the same way." While Cole admits that Oracle does good development work, they don't do it in an open-source friendly manner. He said, Cole is "continuing to do good development, but often without much public visibility until release," and worse still, Oracle, "ignores bugs, feedback, and communication from the community."

With Google joining the exodus from MySQL to MariaDB, Oracle has another reason to regret its 2009 $7.4-billion purchase of Sun and MySQL. And the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl (LAMP) stack may soon be known as the Apache, MariaDB, PHP/Python/Perl stack.

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