​MariaDB Corp cooks up better Chef and Docker features for developers

Packaged with Chef recipe ordered tasks and a Docker image for its high-availability database platform, MariaDB Corp is aiming to make life easier for developer and operations teams.

CEO Patrik Sallner: More of the tools developers need to run databases effectively. Image: MariaDB Corp

MariaDB Corp says the latest edition of its MariaDB Enterprise offering focuses on faster deployment of database apps, with better support for Docker containers and the Chef automation framework.

MariaDB Enterprise, which includes hardened server binaries of the MariaDB open-source MySQL fork plus tools and connectors, now also offers a Docker image of the database, together with Chef cookbook scenario definitions and recipe tasks.

"Now it's less about the database features and more about the ease of use of the database in the context of the overall deployment, whether you're a developer or somebody running operations for a database," MariaDB Corp CEO Patrik Sallner said.

"More people have a DevOps responsibility. Traditionally, developers have not had as much responsibility for databases, and it's more been bringing a DBA to write the SQL scripts, for example. Now we're providing more of the tools that enable developers to run databases effectively."

MariaDB is the community-developed branch of Oracle's open-source MySQL database, acquired for $1bn by Sun Microsystems, which in turn was bought by Oracle for $7.4bn in 2010. By then, some of the database's original creators had already left to create MariaDB. Last October, commercial MariaDB company SkySQL announced it was changing its name to MariaDB Corporation.

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"What we've done essentially is provide a Docker image for MariaDB Enterprise. It includes all the different components, and by having a Docker container for them it means we have a compact standardised software component that can be run much more easily in many different types of environments, or you can more flexibly switch between environments while maintaining the same standard way of using it," Sallner said.

"With Chef, we've provided some recipes in the cookbook for multiple different tasks to configure, deploy and manage MariaDB Enterprise. Those are pre-packaged meaning that, again, it's easier for the user to actually install and deploy MariaDB Enterprise than using the Chef basic toolkits."

Chef cookbooks consist of recipes, which are a set of ordered tasks for configuration, deployment and management.

"You could call these non-functional benefits. But they really are visible for the user, making MariaDB a much more compelling, easy-to-use tool that will extend the number of users within a given company. A company may only have a few people who are comfortable doing the configuration for MariaDB," Sallner said.

"But with Docker and Chef you can extend the number of people who feel comfortable taking responsibility for the database. That's a benefit that will obviously increase the usage within the existing users but also lower the barrier for new users to adopt it."

Version 10.1 of the community-developed MariaDB server is currently in beta phase, with general availability expected in the next few weeks.

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MariaDB Corp, which said it has secured 28 new customers in the past month, is also working on making Microsoft Azure support available over the next few months, together with support for other cloud providers and automation frameworks.

Other features available in the latest release of the subscription-based MariaDB Enterprise include extending optimised server binaries to cover MariaDB Enterprise Cluster with Galera.

"We've also worked further on the Java connectors, which are interesting components because these client drivers are used by a lot of companies that have embedded MariaDB. One of the partners that we're working with is Amazon AWS Aurora. Extending the capability into the cloud is a key collaboration area for us," he said.

"MariaDB availability in the cloud stacks is the key focus area. We're already available in all the Linux distributions. Now we're negotiating with the key cloud providers to have MariaDB as an option there as well."

In January MariaDB released its MaxScale open-source proxy software, which allows databases and apps to be fully decoupled, so admin processes can run without affecting apps.

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