On Thursday MySQL technology saw a huge boost. It’s hard for anyone now to argue that MySQL isn’t in the game of extreme scalability and performance, which some NoSQL vendors have been using as a tagline for the last years. To see four of the largest MySQL and MariaDB users come together to bootstrap a branch of MySQL for extreme scaling needs is simply fantastic. The improvements done inside these companies will now be available to the rest of the community. In all fairness Facebook and Twitter, in particular, have been making their improvements publicly available also before. Google has also made some improvements available publicly over the years and have lately been active in the MariaDB project with code reviews, bug fixes and other patches. But broadening the public contributions further and combining it all, is new.
Engineering of MySQL technology happens in many places. Aside from Oracle and the companies behind WebScaleSQL, there are two other entities that have made significant contributions to improving MySQL technology in recent years – Percona and MariaDB. Percona has made many performance-related functionality and tooling improvements. The MariaDB project has made significant engineering efforts by bringing out many new features to MySQL technology and has also become the project for community contributions. Take a look at the list of bigger contributions that have made it into MariaDB 10.0.
MariaDB 5.5 is constantly being merged with MySQL 5.5 community edition. Every time there is a new minor release of MySQL 5.5 a new release of MariaDB 5.5 with exactly the same number comes out shortly afterwards. In MariaDB 10, this dependency is lighter, which the numbering also indicates. MariaDB 10 includes a lot of merged code from MySQL 5.6, but it also includes a big amount of MariaDB specific code and code merged from the wider community. WebScaleSQL will be another important source for merges in the future. Without knowing all the details of WebScaleSQL, it should be safe to say that there are two sorts of patches: the ones that improve MySQL technology in general and the ones that would be specific for the purposes of running MySQL at extreme scale with integration into technologies not commonly used in more normal setups of MySQL or MariaDB.
MariaDB is all about improving and keeping the world’s most installed database, MySQL, available to the masses independent of whether they are private persons with the need for a database for their blog or if the target is a mission critical enterprise application. MariaDB therefore needs to provide all the components needed from database drivers (connectors) to integrated high-availability solutions like MariaDB Galera Cluster.
In addition, the majority of the users and organizations using MariaDB or MySQL don’t have the in-house skills to build and make changes to MariaDB or MySQL. This is why MariaDB has to be supported on a wide variety of platforms and binaries provided for all of them. WebScaleSQL is currently only compatible with GNU/Linux x86_64 platforms and no binaries are produced.
WebScaleSQL confirms the power of community driven development in open source and is a very nice addition to the branches and forks of MySQL!