Google is moving away from MySQL to MariaDB in a move that will make it easier for other companies to migrate from older MySQL installations.
The news of the move emerged during a talk at the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference in Stanford, California, given by Google senior systems engineer, Jeremy Cole.
His talk was on The MySQL Ecosystem at Scale, and during the talk he mentioned the change to MariaDB, a development that was then reported. The news was reported in an article in The Register ,and later confirmed by Google in a brief statement in which they said that that Google’s MySQL team is currently moving internal users of MySQL from Oracle’s MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 10.0.
Google is making no comment about the reasons behind the move, though there are plenty of political reasons why it might want to move away from Oracle’s MySQL. Oracle accused Google of infringing the Java intellectual property owned by Oracle by using a clone of the Java APIs in its Dalvik virtual machine, which runs Android apps. The Federal court ruled in Google's favor, but the case is still in appeal. Being on opposite sides of an ongoing court case can’t make for particularly easy working conditions.
From a more technical viewpoint, Cole said in his conference presentation:
“I value stability and performance over fancy new features. Oracle doesn’t always feel the same way”.
He added that Oracle is:
“continuing to do good development, but often without much public visibility until release”, and that the company “ignores bugs, feedback, communication from the community.”
Google has had an engineer working with MariaDB since August, and according to SkySQL chief executive Patrik Sallner, the companies have been collaborating on features in MariaDB that enable Google to migrate applications that were previously running on MySQL onto MariaDB. If these features make it into the main MariaDB fork, it can only be good news for MySQL users who are considering moving to MariaDB.
Other companies, including Wikipedia,as we reported in April, have also switched to MariaDB.
MariaDB is developed by SkySQL, which since April 2013 has the two main co-creators of the original MySQL, Monty Widenius and David Axmark.
While Google’s MySQL servers will now use MariaDB, in reality the company maintains its own internal branch of MySQL to ensure the company has absolute control over development of minor features and bug fixes. Such branches aren’t complete forks, and some features developed may appear in the main forks if they prove important enough.
Having a company such as Google running thousands of MariaDB servers can only be good news for the MariaDB fork, and for those who feel more comfortable with a non-Oracle future for MySQL.