Wednesday, 1 January 2014

MariaDB: An Open Source Alternative and Replacement of Oracle's MySQL

MariaDB: An Open Source Alternative and Replacement of Oracle's MySQL

MySQL was the best open source database in the market before Sun Microsystems purchased it. After this, Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems and MySQL came in the hands of Oracle. After this purchase a fair number of MySQL users started looking for an alternative. So, here MariaDB comes into play. MariaDB can be considered an open source alternative and replacement of MySQL. MariaDB is a fork of the MySQL source code. MariaDB is also considered as "drop-in replacement” for MySQL. MariaDB has been invented by Monty Widenius, the same author who invented MySQL. MariaDB also includes some new features that make it better than MySQL and better performance than MySQL.

A brief history of MySQL and origin of MariaDB

A) Invention of MySQL

MySQL was invented by a Swedish company, MySQL AB, which was founded by David Axmark, Allan Larsson and Michael "Monty" Widenius. It is named for Widenius' daughter, My. MySQL was born about the same time as the World Wide Web, in 1994. It was popular from its inception and quickly became a standard part of the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) that powers most Web sites. MySQL has been dual-licensed from the beginning: free for personal use, but you had to purchase a commercial license to use it on commercial sites or on Windows servers. In 2000 they changed the free license to the GPL, which meant that commercial users no longer had to purchase licenses. MySQL AB took a huge financial hit from this, losing as much as 80 percent of revenues by some accounts.

But, to their credit, they stuck with the GPL. Mickos became CEO in 2001, and the company's market reach and revenue steadily increased. But even though they were becoming dominant when measured by installations (about a third of the total market share), their revenues were still smallish-- for example, they grossed about $50 million in 2007, but to industry giants like Microsoft and Oracle it's a rounding error. Oracle looked upon MySQL and decided they had to have it, and started making purchase overtures around 2006. MySQL AB said no.

B) Sun Microsystems purchased MySQL

In 2007 MySQL AB raked in a cool $75 million. In 2008 Sun Microsystems bought them for approximately $1 billion. Though purchasing the whole company meant buying the talent that built MySQL. But Widenius and Axmark didn't last long at Sun and left in 2008, with many public complaints. Widenius was a vocal critic of Sun's MySQL 5.1 release and called it buggy and crashy. Then Mickos left in 2009, and the original MySQL visionaries were gone.

C) Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems

In 2009 Oracle purchases Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion. Monty Widenius, in one of the most amazing cases of seller's remorse ever, arose in a mighty dudgeon and tried to derail the deal with his "Save MySQL" campaign. He urged people to write to the European Union and ask them to either shoot down the whole deal, or require Oracle to obey certain conditions. MySQL was firmly entrenched as an extremely important piece of technology, the foundation of the Internet and of many private businesses, and he feared that Oracle would not be a good steward of MySQL, but would kill it, or close the source.

The deal went through anyway and Oracle, at last, owned MySQL.

D) Birth of MariaDB

Monty did not retire to count his giant pile of Sun money, but instead forked MySQL and created MariaDB in 2009. (Fortunately for his naming convention he has another daughter, Maria.) MariaDB is a non-commercial community venture, always free software and always free of cost, though donations are welcome. MariaDB is now managed by the MariaDB Foundation, which is led by Michael Widenius, David Axmark, and Allan Larsson. So they created it, sold it, and got it back for free, which makes this the all-time having-your-cake-and-eating-it winner.

Migration from MySQL to MariaDB

MariaDB is a binary drop in replacement for MySQL. MariaDB has a lot of new options, extension, storage engines and bug fixes that are not in MySQL. Migration from MySQL to MariaDB is very simple because:

1. Data and table definition files (.frm) files are binary compatible.
2. All client APIs, protocols and structs are identical.
3. All filenames, binaries, paths, ports, sockets, and etc... are the same.
4. All MySQL connectors (PHP, Perl, Python, Java, .NET, MyODBC, Ruby, MySQL C connector etc) work unchanged with MariaDB.
5. The mysql-client package also works with MariaDB server.
6. The shared client library is binary compatible with MySQL's client library.

This means that for most cases, you can just uninstall MySQL and install MariaDB and you are good to go. 

MySQL is declining, becoming obsolete and MariaDB is rising

Despite being the most popular open-source database management system (DBMS), Oracle's MySQL has been sinking into trouble. Major Linux distributions like Red Hat and SUSE, are switching it out for its fork, MariaDB. Major Websites, such as Wikipedia, have also replaced MySQL with MariaDB. Now, adding insult to injury, Google is moving to MariaDB from MySQL.

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