Platform-as-a-service pusher ServiceNow is backing MySQL upstart MariaDB, injecting cash into its coffers and staffers onto its board, partly to protect its own investment as a customer of the database biz.
The Finnish database company, founded by MySQL creator Monty Widenius in 2009, has pulled in some $98.2m in funding to date from backers including Alibaba and Intel.
ServiceNow – whose platform runs on up to 85,000 MariaDB databases – has today added itself to that list, in a move that also sees Pat Casey, senior veep for development and operations, join MariaDB's board.
Casey told The Register it seemed like a good opportunity for his firm, given its relationship with the business and use of the tech.
He acknowledged that, historically, ServiceNow "has not been interested in owning our tool chain" (and would not be drawn on whether there were any further plans for a buyout) but was keen to build a stake in MariaDB.
Casey set out two immediate benefits: backing the company that powers ServiceNow's platform and getting to influence MariaDB's tech development.
“On one level, we get a benefit in ensuring the success of our tool chain – if something horrible happened to MariaDB as a corporate entity it would be a lot of work for us to replace it with something else,” he said. “I would much rather make MariaDB successful and protect the investment we’ve already made.”
On his second point, he added, it allows ServiceNow to work with MariaDB to develop features and functionality that will benefit both sets of customers, although Casey noted MariaDB was still an independent entity, and would determine its own roadmap.
The pair, for instance, are working on improving performance under very high core count concurrency – to which ServiceNow has contributed funding and use cases – and on a scalability project aiming to boost response times to alter command.
MariaDB also confirmed today it had acquired Clustrix, a MySQL drop-in replacement database, that it said would help offer customers greater scalability and higher availability. The price of the deal, which is MariaDB's second of the year, was not revealed.
MariaDB is just one of many newcomers to the database sector, which are all still competing against the dominant, legacy vendors like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.
For MariaDB, the fight with Big Red has been going on effectively since its inception, as MariaDB was forked from the open-source RDBMS management system MySQL amid concerns about Oracle’s influence when it acquired Sun, and thus the rights to MySQL.
Casey told us that the world of relational databases was ripe for "disruption".
“I think there’s an interesting niche to reimplement, or modernise, the world of traditional relational,” he said. “For better or worse, most application models are still based on some form of relational model, and you see companies like MariaDB out there reinventing relational – pushing scale up, putting different storage engines in place. It does have an opportunity to disrupt that ecosystem.” ®