​MariaDB Corp picks off speed bottlenecks and tightens anti-SQL injection measures

The company behind the open-source MariaDB MySQL branch has unveiled its spring release database offering, which it says is tuned for better performance.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor
MariaDB Corp CEO Patrik Sallner: Pre-tweaked performance improvements.
Image: MariaDB Corp

Along with better security and broader OS support, database firm MariaDB Corp says the latest edition of its MariaDB Enterprise offering provides a step-up in performance over the community edition of the open-source MySQL fork.

According to MariaDB Corp, the improved performance derives from the way it has identified performance bottlenecks and optimised server binaries, the compiled combination of various database components, for typical use cases.

MariaDB Corp CEO Patrik Sallner said this optimisation, achieved by tweaking variables in the database, has resulted in a 15 percent performance improvement. The firm expects work under way with a group of customers to lift that figure to about 40 percent.

"By doing benchmarks against different use cases, you can go in and do a lot of configuration tweaks. We've looked at what are the most common profiles and use cases and optimised specifically for those," Sallner said.

"Usually, when you develop these traditional database servers, you're allowing them to form against any scenario. That means for any given scenario, the user can further tweak the configuration. But most users don't have the skills to do that. What we're doing now is offering for the mass market something where you have pre-tweaked performance improvements."

The company provides a notification service that allows users to track specific updates and patches according to their database configuration. That service has helped give MariaDB Corp a better understanding of common combinations of database setups, operating systems and apps and a way of continuing to optimise the performance of the binaries.

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.

The new MariaDB Enterprise release features protection against SQL-injection attacks using a database firewall filter. In a few months community MariaDB will also include the database encryption developed and used internally by Google, which has been using MariaDB for a year.

Together with support for a wider range of operating systems, which now include RHEL 7.1 little endian, SLES 12 and Ubuntu 14.04 binaries for IBM POWER8, the new release also opens up the possibility of higher availability and scalability using IBM's massively-multithreaded chip.

"We now have 30 ongoing [IBM POWER8] proofs-of-concept and we'll be shortly announcing the first customers that we have together with them. This is really allowing MariaDB to extend into larger-scale hardware than before," Sallner said.

"Because of the optimisation we've done together with IBM, we're getting more than double the performance you would normally get on an x86 architecture."

On the scalability side, the latest release also integrates the MaxScale middleware announced in January. MaxScale, which is available for MySQL as well as MariaDB, is an open-source proxy that allows databases and apps to be decoupled to allow admin processes to run without affecting apps and for apps to be modified without hampering underlying databases.

"We had it as a separate product and now we want to make sure MariaDB Enterprise is an end-to-end offering with pre-integrated components in it. We already have tens of customers on MaxScale so we're now building it into the MariaDB offering so that it's even easier to deploy and a broader group of people benefit from it," Sallner said.

"Within MaxScale, for example, we provide schema-based sharding - sharding is a big new component there. We're also offering connection load-balancing and we have a binlog relay, which improves the master-slave replication for high availability."

The firm's MariaDB Enterprise product uses the same database server as the community edition, but with a number of tools and services.

"What we're doing is we're packaging. Traditional open-source users pull all kinds of code from all kinds of different servers and build what they need. But with MariaDB Enterprise we're allowing them to get these binaries that include the components so that it's much easier to deploy," Sallner said.

"We also offer a customer portal where you can click and just select the pieces that you need and then get those in place. The database server is the same but what we're adding is improved tooling and configurations."

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