Wikipedia moving from MySQL to MariaDB

If you still think MySQL is too entrenched to be moved from its spot as the number one, open-source DBMS, you might to look at what Wikipedia is doing.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Wikimedia is moving from MySQL to MariaDB for its backend DBMS.

For years, MySQL has been the dominant open-source database management system (DBMS). Recently, MariaDB, the MySQL fork created by MySQL's founder, has been making in-roads and Wikipedia, the world's sixth most popular Web site, is shifting over from MySQL to MariaDB.

Asher Feldman, Site Architect at Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), the group behind Wikipedia wrote recently, that he had" migrated one of the main production English Wikipedia slaves, db59, to MariaDB 5.5.28." I then asked him if Wikimedia planned to move all of Wikipedia to MariaDB.  He replied, "We will indeed be migrating more of our production databases to MariaDB. I'm hoping to have one of our major projects (such as the English language Wikipedia) fully migrated in production by the end of the year. I don't have a specific timeline yet, but if the assessment continues to be positive, we may fully migrate production in the first quarter of next year."

Why is Wikipedia making this move? Feldman wrote, "The main goal of migrating to MariaDB is not performance driven. More so, I think it's in WMF's and the open source communities interest to coalesce around the MariaDB Foundation as the best route to ensuring a truly open and well supported future for mysql derived database technology. Performance gains along the way are icing on the cake."

As it happens, those performance gains are quite tasty. Feldman said, "Taking the times of 100% of all queries over regular sample windows, the average query time across all enwiki slave queries is about 8% faster with MariaDB vs. our production build of 5.1-fb. Some queries types are 10-15% faster, some are 3% slower, and nothing looks aberrant beyond those bounds. Overall throughput as measured by qps [queries per second] has generally been improved by 2-10%. I wouldn't draw any conclusions from this data yet, more is needed to filter out noise, but it's positive."

In the future, he believes that "MariaDB has some nice performance improvements that our workload doesn't really hit (better query optimization and index usage during joins, much better sub query support) but there are also some things, such as full utilization of the primary key embedded on the right of every secondary index that we can take advantage of (and improve our schema around) once prod is fully upgraded, hopefully over the next 1-2 months."

Regardless of how you feel about Oracle, MySQL's owner; open-source vs. proprietary software; MariaDB's better performance at one of the world's busiest Web sites is going to draw attention from anyone running serious Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl (LAMP) software stacks.

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