MariaDB inhales $25m. 'People tried to get away with simpler' but now there's a 'relational renaissance,' says open-source biz chief

Oracle nemesis will be focusing on SkySQL cloud product


MySQL cousin MariaDB has grabbed $25m in funding in what represents something of a mini fight-back for good ol' relational databases against the NoSQL family of systems, according to the CEO.

Speaking to The Register, Michael Howard claimed a "renaissance" in relational databases was taking place.

"It started a couple of years ago with the aftermath of the debacle regarding (distributed file system) Hadoop and some non-SQL cousins of ours.

"People tried to get away with simpler APIs; people started saying that you don't need schemas; people said, 'Oh, you can put all your data in a simple document and you don't need to do any joining of data'. "I think the realisation that that was naive and juvenile started a number of years ago, and so the interest in MariaDB," he said.

The new investment, coming from SmartFin, a Belgian firm, and London-Swedish fund GPBullHound, would be solely dedicated to its cloud native SkySQL product, without waiting until the next formal round.

People started saying that you don't need schemas... you can put all your data in a simple document... you don't need to do any joining of data... I think the realisation that that was naive and juvenile started a number of years ago

In May, MariaDB launched its first full DBaaS in SkySQL Power, which supported more custom database requirements into a deployment than other comparable services, the company said.

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Howard said he expected the DBaaS to complement DBA skills and help them manage every increase in workloads in the cloud, analogous to SaaS for application teams.

In March, MariaDB updated its cloud-native SkySQL database, promising a slew of features addressing deployment, management and analytics. Designed to support cloud-neutral and hybrid installations, it uses Kubernetes for container services to allow deployment of the same database, whether in AWS, Azure, GCP or on-premises.

Open-source MariaDB was sharded out of MySQL, the open-source relational database. MySQL had been part of Sun Microsystems since 2008, but when Oracle bought Sun in 2010, MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius forked the code to a new open-source database: MariaDB.

Historically, it had been used mostly as a transactional database. But MariaDB Corporation, the company, is building features that support analytics for both offline and live data.

The new funding takes the total investment in the firm to $125m. Although customers include Deutsche Bank, DBS Bank, Nasdaq, and Verizon, it is still currently small fry compared with multi-billion dollar behemoth like Oracle.

Appointed just over four years ago, Oracle and EMC alumnus Howard told us in late 2018 that the company "aspir[ed] to go public", adding that "revenue", specifically "cloud revenue – is extremely important". ®


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