Let's slip into something a bit more relational: SQL database crowd strikes back with brace of cloudy releases

And you thought this was purely a NoSQL release this week?

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MariaDB, which counts Deutsche Bank, Nasdaq and telecoms giant Verizon among its users, has launched a DBaaS rendition of its relational database, adding options to configure and customise it.

Amid a flurry of NoSQL releases earlier in the week, the relational world also got a fillip from the release of CockroachDB which promises to make cloud development, deployment, and management quicker and faster.

While they might be a sign of a maturing market for open-source relational databases, the two releases solve different user problems.

MariaDB launched its first full DBaaS in SkySQL Power this week, building on the March release of Kubernetes for container services to provide the same database build whatever the cloud provider.

MariaDB said the full-DBaaS version allowes custom database requirements into a deployment, a feature unavailable in other comparable services.

It likened the standard DBaaS product to “buying T-shirts or off-the-rack suits”. But SkySQL Power lets customers choose the preferences that fit their specific enterprise needs “similar to a custom-tailored suit with countless combinations of fabrics and styles to choose from”. The Register hopes that accommodates the option of buying MC Hammer’s trousers.

The point is flexibility without management overhead – a first according to MariaDB.

Holger Mueller, veep and principal analyst for Constellation Research, said: “MariaDB customers need that flexibility as they have often customised their existing deployments very deeply.”

SkySQL is essentially MariaDB, the database, which was sharded out of MySQL, the open-source relational database in 2010.

Although the DBaaS product is interesting, users are essentially getting the same database. That’s great if that is what users need, but CockroachDB’s approach is a much more radical rethink, said Peter Zaitsev, CEO at Percona, a database-independent open-source service partner.

“While both available in a DBaaS package, MariaDB's SkySQL and CockroachCloud could not be more different. MariaDB is based on the proven (or legacy depending on your point of view) technology originated in MySQL more than 25 years ago and retrofitted for the cloud, while CockroachDB is the database which is purpose-built for the cloud.

"MariaDB SkySQL is great for taking existing MariaDB compatible applications to the cloud while CockroachDB is great for new application development and migrations where significant application changes may be required,” Zaitsev opined.

The geo-distributed CockroachDB 20.1 allows the data structure to change in line with the application without downtime, said Cockroach Labs, the company behind the database.

For example, developers often need to make time-consuming changes to primary keys as applications change, but with the latest release, they can alter the way data is organised without needing to take an application offline, the company said. The database designates how data is organised, including where it lives geographically, to reduce latency and support compliance.

Earlier this week a triumvirate of NoSQL releases hit the market. MariaDB and CockroachDB are showing there is plenty of headroom for development among their relational counterparts. ®

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