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October 23, 2013

SkySQL Gets Intel Capital Winds in Sails for MariaDB

Nicole Hemsoth

In 1995 Michael “Monty” Widenus and David Axemark released the MySQL database, changing the open source database landscape forever. Nearly 20 years later, they’ve rejoined for a sequel to MySQL. Today, their company SkySQL announced a $20 million round of funding led by Intel Capital to further push their efforts behind the MariaDB database.

One of the fastest growing relational database technologies, MariaDB represents a fork in the MySQL road after concerns grew about the direction that Oracle was moving with the open source aspects of the project. Their problems with Oracle led MySQL co-founders, Widenius and Axemark to rejoin forces to push MariaDB, billed as an enhanced drop-in replacement for MySQL.

Earlier this year, the duo merged their companies, SkySQL and Monty Program under the SkySQL banner to become the lead organization pushing the development and distribution of MariaDB. It’s been an effort that has gained quite a bit of traction. Since the initial release of MariaDB in 2009, it has become a well received relational database technology, gaining traction with such companies as Facebook, Craigslist, Disney, and Wikipedia.

“Adoption of the MariaDB database server has grown explosively in the last year,” said Patrik Sallner, SkySQL CEO in a statement. “With the help of our loyal user base, we have built up significant market share when compared to other open source database technologies. 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.”

According to industry analyst firm, 451 Group, MariaDB’s increasing market share can be attributed to it becoming a favorite SQL technology among those using Linux distributions such as OpenSUSE and Fedora. The firm says that MariaDB’s traction with application developers and database administrators is due to having an excellent reputation for performance and security, as well as compatibility with multiple storage engines – including the Cassandra Storage Engine, which has gained traction in many big data implementations.

 “There is no reason at all to use MySQL 5.5 instead of MariaDB 5.5,” Widenus told open source haven, Muktware in a recent interview. “Just de-install MySQL and install MariaDB instead. All your all tools, connectors will work. You also don’t have to dump/restore data. The format and file names are identical.”

This, of course, undersells the risk involved in ripping and replacing one relational framework for another, but it does demonstrate the fervor that the creators of MySQL have against the direction that their former product, and zeal they have for their newest baby.

It’s a zeal that Intel shares, as evidenced by this $20 million dollar Series B Intel-led round of funding. “The database software market has gone through tremendous change in the last several years, driven by the increasing variety, velocity and volume of data, by the elasticity and scalability offered from cloud computing, and by the need for organizations to both reduce administration costs and increase flexibility. SkySQL is in a position to be a key player in this field,” said Erik Jorgensen, investment director for Intel Capital in Western Europe.

With the fresh capital, the company says they intend to expand and develop commercial solutions for scaling the MariaDB database server, as well as broaden the adoption of the technology.

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