FOSDEM: MariaDB sets out future plans

The main developer of the MariaDB server, Max Mether, presented the plans for the relational database management system (RDBMS) in a short talk at FOSDEM 21, which is currently taking place as an online event. The upcoming version 10.6 of MariaDB is currently in the alpha phase and is expected to be in development for another year. So far, the development model has aimed at one main issue per year, according to a fixed schedule that is less concerned with features. From the fixed date of the feature freeze, it is only a matter of stabilizing the new version. This makes publications on the MariaDB server – by far the largest project of the MariaDB Foundation, which was set up as a foundation – very predictable. But it also means that not all versions get a suitably large set of new features. In contrast, Oracle is taking more freedom in the schedule with MySQL and is targeting new versions every 18 to 24 months, depending on which features are ready.

The MariaDB development team wants to put its release model to the test again and make it more flexible so that long-awaited features no longer make it into the version but one due to rigid schedules. But that will MariaDB development cycle 10.6 no longer concern, which will go into beta in around a month.

While Oracle MySQL and MariaDB have diverged considerably since the joint version 7, under which both database systems were still compatible with each other, they still have something in common: Getting started is comparatively easy when it comes to the operation of a single database instance, and scalability makes this one RDBMS interesting for projects from small blogs to full-blown shop systems. The developer of MariaDB also mentions an enormously growing online shop in the talk as an application example in which MariaDB can assert itself for all tasks without changing the database system. It may be necessary to change the storage engine in the background, and MariaDB recently added the “Columnstore” analytics engine in version 10.5 for big data tasks with extremely large data sets. The goal is a scalability of MariaDB in the range of petabytes of data in the next few years, so Max Mether.

For this to work, the database system itself must become more autonomous and be able to optimize itself. MariaDB currently knows almost 700 parameters that affect the database performance depending on the number of data records and available hardware resources. A currently still distant goal is an automatic optimization of these parameters per database, ideally without restarting the MariaDB server. A partitioning of databases is also planned in order to be able to operate different storage engines in parallel. Max Mether mentioned the example of being able to move older data records within the same database from InnoDB tables to a column store for archiving and analysis purposes.

Like the developers of other RDBMS, the minds behind MariaDB are also noticing that database servers and workloads have migrated to the cloud in recent years. The MariaDB server is therefore also available in instances that are explicitly designed for use in the cloud. Many changes were already made in MariaDB 10.3, which was released in 2017. The stated goal of the MariaDB Foundation, however, is to further develop the server for traditional Linux and BSD systems that run on your own computer or on a rack at a host. For cloud-based MariaDB installations, features for managing multiple database instances and replicas become more important. Slower ones Operations like “ALTER TABLE” should therefore run non-blocking in the future so that the changes can be applied to the primary database and its replicas without stopping applications for a long time. Max Mether notes that this feature is quite advanced and will come after MariaDB 10.6. The Development goals for the cloud currently come from the experience with SkySQL, which has been under the aegis of MariaDB since 2013 and offers databases-as-a-service to corporate customers.

MariaDB 10.6 and beyond: While the upcoming version of the MariaDB server will soon enter the beta phase, development manager Max Mether is already showing the further plans for the free RDMBS.

(Image: FOSDEM)

The whole The recorded talk about MariaDB and its future will be posted on the FOSDEM 21 website in the next few days and appear in the video archive.


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