MariaDB intended to maintain high compatibility with MySQL, ensuring a drop-in replacement capability with library binary parity and exact matching with MySQL APIs and commands. However, new features diverge more. It includes new storage engines like Aria, ColumnStore, and MyRocks.
Its lead developer/CTO is Michael "Monty" Widenius, one of the founders of MySQL AB and the founder of Monty Program AB. On 16 January 2008, MySQL AB announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Sun Microsystems for approximately $1 billion. The acquisition completed on 26 February 2008. Sun was then bought the following year by Oracle Corporation. MariaDB is named after Widenius' younger daughter, Maria. (MySQL is named after his other daughter, My.)
MariaDB version numbers follow the MySQL's numbering scheme up to version 5.5. Thus, MariaDB 5.5 offers all of the MySQL 5.5 features. There exists a gap in MySQL versions between 5.1 and 5.5, while MariaDB issued 5.2 and 5.3 point releases.
Since specific new features have been developed in MariaDB, the developers decided that a major version number change was necessary.
MariaDB's API and protocol are compatible with those used by MySQL, plus some features to support native non-blocking operations and progress reporting. This means that all connectors, libraries and applications which work with MySQL should also work on MariaDB—whether or not they support its native features. On this basis, Fedora developers replaced MySQL with MariaDB in Fedora 19, out of concerns that Oracle was making MySQL a more closed software project.OpenBSD likewise in April 2013 dropped MySQL for MariaDB 5.5.
However, for recent MySQL features, MariaDB either has no equivalent yet (like geographic function) or deliberately chose not to be 100% compatible (like GTID, JSON). The list of incompatibilities grows longer with each version.
In December 2012 Michael Widenius, David Axmark, and Allan Larsson announced the formation of a foundation that would oversee the development of MariaDB.
Kaj Arnö, current CEO of the MariaDB Foundation
In April 2013 the Foundation announced that it had appointed Simon Phipps as its Secretary and interim Chief Executive Officer, Rasmus Johansson as Chairman of the Board, and Andrew Katz, Jeremy Zawodny, and Michael Widenius as Board members. Noting that it wished to create a governance model similar to that used by the Eclipse Foundation, the Board appointed the Eclipse Foundation's Executive Director Mike Milinkovich as an advisor to lead the transition. SkySQL Corporation Ab, a company formed by ex-MySQL executives and investors after Oracle bought MySQL, announced in April 2013 that they were merging their company with Monty Program AB, and joining the MariaDB Foundation. The MariaDB Foundation appointed Widenius as its CTO.
Simon Phipps quit in 2014 on the sale of the MariaDB trademark to SkySQL. He later said: "I quit as soon as it was obvious the company was not going to allow an independent foundation." On 1 October 2014, SkySQL Corporation Ab changed its name to MariaDB Corporation Ab to reflect its role as the main driving force behind the development of MariaDB server and the biggest support-provider for it. MariaDB is a registered trademark of MariaDB Corporation Ab, used under license by the MariaDB Foundation.
From January 2015 to September 2018, Otto Kekäläinen was the CEO of the MariaDB Foundation. He stepped down effectively on 1 October of that year. Arjen Lentz was appointed CEO of the Foundation in October 2018, but resigned in December 2018.Kaj Arnö joined as the CEO on 1 February 2019.
Eric Herman is the current Chairman of the Board.
Sponsors of MariaDB Foundation
In 2013 Google tasked one of its engineers to work at the MariaDB Foundation.
MariaDB Corporation Ab is a contributor to the MariaDB Server, develops the MariaDB database connectors (C, C++, Java 7, Java 8, Node.js,ODBC, Python,R2DBC) as well as the MariaDB Enterprise Platform, including the MariaDB Enterprise Server, optimized for production deployments. The MariaDB Enterprise Platform includes MariaDB MaxScale, an advanced database proxy, MariaDB ColumnStore, a columnar storage engine for interactive ad hoc analytics, MariaDB Xpand, a distributed SQL storage engine for massive transactional scalability, and MariaDB Enterprise Server, an enhanced, hardened and secured version of the community server. MariaDB Corporation offers the MariaDB Enterprise Platform in the cloud under the name SkySQL, a database-as-a-service.
MariaDB Corporation Ab was formed after a merger between SkySQL Corporation Ab and Monty Program on 23 April 2013. Subsequently the name was changed on 1 October 2014 to reflect the company’s role as the main driving force behind the development of MariaDB Server and the largest support-provider for it.
Michael Howard is the current CEO of MariaDB Corporation.
SkySQL general availability was announced on March 31, 2020. This database-as-a-service offering from MariaDB is a managed cloud service on Google Cloud Platform.
SkySQL is a hybrid database offering that includes a column family store, object store, distributed SQL database with both a transactional and analytical query engine. The combination allows developers to use a single database for multiple use cases and avoid a proliferation of databases.
The benefits of using this offering vs Amazon RDS or Microsoft Azure Database's MariaDB services offerings are versioning (SkySQL ensures users are on the most recent product release) as well as having analytics and transactional support.
Investors in MariaDB Corporation
A group of investment companies led by Intel has invested $20 million in SkySQL.
The European Investment Bank funded MariaDB with €25 million in 2017.Alibaba led a $27M investment into MariaDB in 2017.
Clark, Jack (12 September 2013). "Google swaps out MySQL, moves to MariaDB". Data Center. The Register. Situation Publishing. Retrieved 14 September 2017. The MariaDB Foundation's interim chief executive is Simon Phipps.