SkySQL tool aims to ease Galera clusters for MariaDB and MySQL

A graphical user interface and API are part of the MariaDB Enterprise package aimed at making high-availability Galera database clusters easier to run.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor

Software and services firm SkySQL says its MariaDB Enterprise product will help database admins and developers create and manage Galera clusters running MySQL or the MariaDB fork.

Open-source MariaDB Enterprise, on general availability this week, allows nodes in Galera-based high-performance database clusters to be provisioned and monitored through a graphical user interface or a RESTful API.

"It's a subscription that contains the database and the high-availability cluster, so it allows for a clustered system and the tooling for managing that in an easier way," SkySQL CEO Patrik Sallner said.

The package, which also includes support, maintenance updates and patches, runs on Linux and can be installed on-premise, and in virtualised and cloud environments.

SkySQL customers are already using MariaDB or MySQL with Galera Cluster but they frequently require consultants to set up the system, Sallner said. The support offered with MariaDB Enterprise is designed to address that issue.

"When we sell these solutions it often comes with consulting just to ensure that the setup works out well," he said.

"So a lot of companies that are comfortable running MySQL or MariaDB get uneasy when you start talking about clustering and high availability. That's when the skills of an average database administrator may be tested."

Sallner said the MariaDB Enterprise package is also designed to offer improved monitoring of database clusters.

"A graphical user interface gives you the confidence about what you're actually doing and also the RESTful API is a huge benefit because it allows you to integrate more easily with the tools that you're using for running the application," he said.

Galera Cluster is synchronous, multi-master database clustering software that offers real replication, providing higher availability for business-critical applications than that given by single instances or traditional failover.

It is used for applications that involve lots of updates to the database. In online gaming, for example, game-players' clicks result in high volumes of updates to the database, which need to be kept in sync. In the case of a failure, Galera manages the process of keeping the system up and online, even if parts of the database infrastructure go offline.

MariaDB Enterprise is available on an annual subscription, priced according to the number of server nodes in the cluster, starting at three nodes and rising incrementally for much larger configurations.

"This is the first product that we're bringing to market with the MariaDB Enterprise brand and we do have several other releases planned for later in the year," Sallner said.

"We see great opportunities as MariaDB adoption increases to bring further capabilities and further improved ease of use for enterprises. So it's definitely a landmark step here."

In April 2013, SkySQL merged with Monty Program, the organisation behind MariaDB, reuniting key figures in the development of MySQL, acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008 for $1bn, which was then bought by Oracle for $7.4bn in 2010.

By that point some of the database's original creators, including the principal creator of MySQL, Monty Widenius, had already left to produce the MariaDB fork while others formed the SkySQL support firm in 2010.

"This is the manifestation of the merger. When we brought the two companies together, SkySQL with the MariaDB team, the idea was to bring together a great open-source database and the capabilities of SkySQL, which had been developing some interesting tools for deploying databases in cloud environments and management and monitoring," Sallner said.

Last October, a group of investment companies, led by Intel venture arm Intel Capital, put up $20m in series B funding to help the MariaDB open-source project serve what it described as its expanding user base.

Sallner said that investment is also helping SkySQL continue development of the MariaDB database itself. A new beta of the MariaDB 10.0 release will coming out next week, with general availability following in a matter of weeks beyond that, he said.

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