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Open Source MariaDB gets $20M from Intel, Others

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

MariaDB, the community-developed fork of MySQL, continues to grow in popularity. Investors Intel Capital recently led a $20 million round of funding in SkySQL to ensure continued innovation in the open source database's development. Other investors included California Technology Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Open Ocean Capital and Spintop Private Partners.  SkySQL, a company comprised of ex-MySQL executives, investors and developers, provides commercial enterprise-level support for companies using MariaDB across the globe.  After merging in 2013 with Monty Program AB (the open source community that drives MariaDB development, led by MySQL author Monty Widenius) SkySQL established a pool of expertise to support MySQL and MariaDB users.

MariaDB was born out of the acquisition of MySQL AB by Sun Microsystems, later acquired by Oracle Corporation, and the desire by Monty Widenius and others to maintain the open source spirit of the original MySQL project. MariaDB rapidly gained in popularity as large-scale projects like Fedora and Google sought alternatives to now Oracle-owned MySQL.  Others who have since switched from MySQL to MariaDB include Wikipedia, openSUSE, Arch Linux and soon, Red Hat

Cited by some as key reasons for the exodus from MySQL to MariaDB are Oracle's changes in MySQL development. This has effectively closed the door on the open source community as the test and release life cycle became internalized and relationships with GNU/Linux distributions were severed, putting the focus on commercial enterprise sales and support of MySQL.  Asher Feldman of Wikimedia, announcing adoption of MariaDB by Wikipedia, also noted that " supporters of the free culture movement, the Wikimedia Foundation strongly prefers free software projects; that includes a preference for projects without bifurcated code bases between differently licensed free and enterprise editions."

SkySQL CEO Patrik Sallner acknowledges this growth in popularity.  "Adoption of the MariaDB database server has grown explosively in the last year," he said in a quote on SkySQL's website. "With the help of our loyal user base, we have built up significant market share when compared to other open source database technologies."  Regarding the recent investment boost, Patrik noted their key motivation.  "We have raised this latest round of investment to enhance MariaDB’s position as the world's fastest growing open source relational database and to continue to foster a vibrant community around the project."  He added, "For large-scale internet players like Google and Wikipedia, MariaDB database server delivers clear benefits over existing relational databases. With this funding we plan to deliver commercial solutions that make it even easier for enterprises of any size to run MariaDB databases at scale."

The timing of these investments may be spot on with MariaDB well into an initial private Beta of their MariaDB Enterprise offering. The beta program is currently accepting and reviewing requests to join.  With more influential projects making the switch to MariaDB and the project's commitment to maintaining relationships with GNU/Linux distributions attracting more users, SkySQL anticipates nothing but growth.  Marcos Battisti, managing director for Intel Capital in Western Europe and Israel, agrees, quoted on SkySQL's press release as noting the "...combination of SkySQL's solutions with MariaDB’s advanced features and large open source community is a compelling offering for enterprises. We are excited to amplify SkySQL’s growth through Intel Capital’s significant resources, expertise and broad enterprise ecosystem."        

To learn more about SkySQL and MariaDB visit:


Christian Bryant is an information technologist with more than 15 years of experience in the security, banking, education and medical industries.  His systems experience includes Windows, AIX, HP-UX, IRIX, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, Solaris and OpenVMS.  He’s worked in many computing environments from traditional to cloud on both hardware and virtual systems.  

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