MariaDB Acquires Clustrix: MySQL-Compatible OLTP Database with NoSQL Performance

Written by: , Sep. 25, 2018

ClustrixDB Scales High-Traffic MySQL Apps in Production on Public/Private Cloud Web Servers

MariaDB was launched in 2009 by the original founders of MySQL after Oracle legally acquired formal ownership of the popular open source database platform. This week, MariaDB announced the acquisition of Clustrix, a twelve year old start-up company that develops a drop-in replacement for MySQL databases designed for better performance at scale in demanding high-traffic cloud environments. The ClustrixDB is already used by enterprise data centers in support of over 100,000 transactions per second for ecommerce. Programmers from the company will be integrating the code & features from the ClustrixDB framework into new releases of MariaDB. Enterprise data centers operating websites for the world's largest brands already doubt the reliability of MySQL in production for their website & mobile app transaction requirements at max scale. With Clustrix, MariaDB will also be able to offer better support for MySQL apps in containers on public cloud hosts with faster performance speeds. ClustrixDB includes the ability for users to choose either to shard databases into synched versions across multiple web servers for "big data" applications or to scale tables horizontally without sharding. ACID compliance allows MariaDB to challenge the performance speeds of Hadoop, Redis, & NoSQL solutions for "big data" requirements with the advantages of drop-in MySQL compatibility for code. Although financial details of the MariaDB-Clustrix deal were not disclosed, TechCrunch reports that Clustrix previously received $72 million in VC funding compared to around $100 million for MariaDB. ServiceNow will be partnering with MariaDB on the financial terms of agreement. MariaDB is gaining huge traction over MySQL in professional CMS development.

ClustrixDB: 10x Faster Database Performance vs. AWS Aurora & MySQL Speeds

Clustrix was founded by Paul Mikesell & Sergei Tsarev in 2006 through a partnership brokered with Sequoia Capital for funding. The original business plan of the company included both a scaled-out/drop-in MySQL compatible database along with dedicated hardware focusing on SSD servers with battery-buffered NVRAM for protected buffer writes on power failures. As SSD hardware and public cloud hosting has far surpassed 2006 levels of availability, the appliance division of Clustrix is no longer viable. The merger of the advanced features of the Clustrix cloud database platform with MariaDB brings a new portfolio of enterprise clients to MariaDB while providing a broader way to continue to evolve ClustrixDB technology to higher levels of user traffic popularly. For example, Match.com uses ClustrixDB to support one of the web's largest online communities running on MySQL foundations, which can maintain 100,000+ simultaneous connections in ecommerce transactions over elastic cluster web server networks. ClustrixDB benchmarks at 10x faster performance and scalability than AWS Aurora:

"Amazon Aurora is based on MySQL, and leverages a shared-storage infrastructure. While it is true that Aurora automatically creates two copies in three availability zones and leverages quorum writes, this architecture is designed for high availability (HA), rather than write scale. In other words, Aurora is writing six full copies of your data, rather than distributing the writes across 6 servers. It is not a shared-nothing architecture, it is a cloud service that makes some of the tricks MySQL DBAs use to extend capacity work well on Amazon’s service. In fact, Aurora matches the single-write server limit of MySQL, and once you’ve provisioned the largest Aurora instance (currently 8XL, or 32 vCPU), you hit the wall. Some enterprises have tried to shard Aurora, but they still lose the ACID transactionality and referential integrity across the separate Aurora shards, as well as consistent backups across the sharded array. Without official AWS Support of sharding, Aurora becomes more difficult to manage compared to your own MySQL deployment. There are also some durability concerns, as they rely on durability by network, and networks are far from durable."

ClustrixDB competes with "big data" solutions like Hadoop, Redis, & other NoSQL database platforms by scaling beyond the limits of MySQL & AuroraDB while retaining the code compatibility of MariaDB. Considering the investment companies need to make to build new ecommerce solutions to manage applications at this scale of operations, many database software platforms are competing for market share. ClustrixDB offers proven scalability for Fortune 500 websites/mobile apps in production, as well as faster benchmark speeds for database performance than other frameworks, making the merger with MariaDB excellent for all of the stakeholders concerned, i.e. customers, investors, founders, developers, & programming teams.

OLTP vs. OLAP: Online Transaction & Analytical Processing Databases

Another strategic aspect of the Clustrix acquisition for MariaDB is the position the platform has as a leader in Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) technology. OLTP databases are "optimized for transaction processing," another reason Clustrix was providing battery-powered back-up hardware to preserve any information stored in system RAM on a web server in instances of failure. Otherwise, OLTP databases specialize in the needs of ecommerce or social networking websites/mobile apps with many simultaneous registered users. In contrast, "big data" solutions are often based on Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) database frameworks with longer times required for running search queries across larger tables of information.

According to DataWarehouse:

  • OLTP (On-line Transaction Processing): "Characterized by a large number of short on-line transactions (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE). The main emphasis for OLTP systems is put on very fast query processing, maintaining data integrity in multi-access environments and an effectiveness measured by number of transactions per second. In OLTP database there is detailed and current data, and schema used to store transactional databases is the entity model (usually 3NF)."
  • OLAP (On-line Analytical Processing): "Characterized by relatively low volume of transactions. Queries are often very complex and involve aggregations. For OLAP systems a response time is an effectiveness measure. OLAP applications are widely used by Data Mining techniques. In OLAP database there is aggregated, historical data, stored in multi-dimensional schemas (usually star schema)."

These issues also apply to cross-node transactions and ACID compliance on transactions for financial institutions, which are critical for managing audited/transparent data center operations in enterprise corporations, ecommerce, & the banking sector. Major multinational brands and ecommerce portals need to comply with these regulations as part of their accordance with legal accounting standards which vary by region. In computer science, ACID refers to the four requirements of "atomicity, consistency, isolation, & durability" in database processing that transparently guarantees that transactions will be overall effective with reliability. Learn more about guaranteed ACID compliance in clusters & sharded MySQL/ClustrixDB installations.

ClustrixDB nResiliency: Fault Tolerance Parameters for Elastic Web Servers

ClustrixDB also has a patented nResiliency technology that allows systems administrators to establish web server clusters "to be fault tolerant up to n number of nodes by simply setting a parameter." The Clustrix Rebalancer optimizes the database and in the event a failure or crash, will use the parameters given to maintain high availability of web/mobile assets. ClustrixDB promotes this solution as a high availability alternative for high-traffic/high-performance web/mobile application requirements running on MySQL. This is important in enterprise data centers that need fail-over and back-up plans that are reliable, secure, & easy to implement.

Michael Howard (CEO, MariaDB): "Today, the choices for a scale-out database option are limited – go with a traditional solution like Oracle with high cost and bloat or choose a NoSQL solution that has limited capabilities for data integrity. With Clustrix, MariaDB can provide a better solution for our customers that have challenging scale-out enterprise environments. Our distributed solution will satisfy the most extreme requirements of our largest customers and gives them the freedom to break from Oracle’s lock-in." Learn More About MariaDB & Clustrix.

MariaDB Trends: In the table above, MariaDB search interest on Google Trends peaks in late 2017 over a five year period. In 2018, MariaDB has trended upward strongly in the Drupal CMS community as a recommended database installment option for the CMS over MySQL, particularly for decoupled Drupal frameworks running Node.js in containers on public cloud architecture at scale or with high-performance requirements. MariaDB is also reportedly used by Automattic in their large-scale, multi-user WordPress installations. These patterns are mostly found on elastic cluster web server installations on AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure for enterprise/high-traffic websites, as MariaDB is not supported on most shared web hosting plans.

MySQL Trends: When comparing the search traffic for MySQL vs. MariaDB, it should be noted that MariaDB is consistently under a 1% ratio of the combined total public interest over the last 5 years. More significantly, MySQL search query volume has lost over 25% in the same time frame. This suggests MySQL is declining due to an increase in platform challengers and that MariaDB has yet to actually spike in uptake significantly for web development popularly.

ClustrixDB: Best for High-Traffic SaaS, Ecommerce, Gaming, IoT, Social, & Ad Tech Apps

The website publishers that are most suited for ClustrixDB implementation are primarily in ecommerce, gaming, IoT, social networking, mass media, and advertising. These are support websites for the world's largest brands; popular blogs, magazines, & music sites; or domains using WordPress & Drupal to serve 100 million to 1 billion+ page views per year. Not coincidentally, these are also the websites with the most business income from operations to invest in new web development, data center operations, cloud hosting, code innovation, & database platform optimization. ClustrixDB adds industry leading scalability and cluster server support to MySQL through the merger with MariaDB, which is a major win for all concerned.

The MariaDB Foundation: "MariaDB Server is one of the most popular database servers in the world. It’s made by the original developers of MySQL and guaranteed to stay open source. Notable users include Wikipedia, WordPress.com and Google. MariaDB turns data into structured information in a wide array of applications, ranging from banking to websites. It is an enhanced, drop-in replacement for MySQL. MariaDB is used because it is fast, scalable and robust, with a rich ecosystem of storage engines, plugins and many other tools make it very versatile for a wide variety of use cases. MariaDB is developed as open source software and as a relational database it provides an SQL interface for accessing data. The latest versions of MariaDB also include GIS and JSON features." Learn More About MariaDB.

MariaDB is growing as a solution for WordPress & Drupal, although many shared web hosting companies still do not support it. Companies running CMS websites built around PHP & MySQL encounter limits of scale at certain points, where MySQL hits the max number of allowed write agents per server or requires more tables/data than a single web server can support in production. The advantages of MariaDB's drop-in MySQL replacement compatibility is immense for programming teams and many companies are already switching from MySQL to MariaDB to avoid vendor lock-in on their database platform long-term with Oracle ownership.

ClustrixDB adds major cloud scalability features for "big data" & high-traffic website support with MySQL compatibility to MariaDB which positions the platform as a leading open source solution for web database technology. The ClustrixDB/MariaDB fusion is of major importance for web/mobile app developers, ecommerce portals, social networking communities, online marketplaces, auction sites, popular blogs/magazines, streaming media, & CMS website publishers building on PHP/MySQL. This merger makes MariaDB a preferred option for web developers and programmers to create future software code, data center technology, & cloud web hosting operations around with other cloud-native, open source database solutions on LAMP.

Conclusion: Use MariaDB & Clustrix for better database performance at scale in processing speeds, packet transfer security, & server automation under open source licensing agreements.

Author:
Eliran Ouzan is the Co. Founder and designer of HostAdvice and also owns Moonshot Marketing LTD, a leading web design & development firm and was a member at GreenPeace.

Widely known for his pixel-perfect and high conversion rate web designs. Over the course of his web experience he experimeneted with over 200 web hosting companies and have a superior knowledge on what defines a good hosting company.

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"MariaDB Acquires Clustrix: MySQL-Compatible OLTP Database with NoSQL Performance"