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SkySQL Raises $20M To Support Open-Source Relational Database MariaDB

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SkySQL has raised $20 million to deepen its support for MariaDB, the fast growing open-source relational database and the emerging database of choice for Wikipedia. The round was led by Intel Capital with participation from California Technology Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Open Ocean Capital and Spintop Private Partners.

Until late this year, MariaDB had primarily been an engineering project but this year it emerged as a foundation SQL technology for Wikipedia and major Linux distributions such as Fedora and OpenSuse, said SkySQL CEO Patrik Sallner. The round validates SkySQL’s approach to make MariaDB, the fastest-growing open-source database and considered the premiere alternative to MySQL.

SkySQL will use the funding to invest in the MariaDB open source project, support the SkySQL community and develop commercial offerings for scaling the MariaDB database server. For example, SkySQL offers support such as helping companies transition to MariaDB from MySQL by providing bug fixes and other support services. It will also deepen its integration with NoSQL databases. MySQL has emerged as a standard due to its performance and transaction capabilities. NoSQL has gained wide acceptance for its scale-out features. The combination of the two database technologies is evident of the trend for “NewSQL,” databases, which SkySQL hopes to capitalize upon.

One of MySQL’s drawbacks is its poor scalability on cloud services such as Amazon Web Services. The database requires a lot of focus on development to shard on to different servers.  Facebook and Google can do it but others do not have the skills. The capability to provide this scaling is getting built into MariaDB  and offered through SkySQL.

Last September, SkySQL launched a service for scaling database on Amazon Web Services. The service is meant for database administrators, but in particular has the end user in mind who may lack the technical skills to deploy enterprise database environments to a cloud environment. With the service, an IT manager can use an administrative console to manage instances, isolate and reconfigure individual nodes on the network, and back up and restore. Those are sophisticated capabilities that would otherwise require deeper database administrative skills to perform.

The company certainly has the pedigree to make its database technology acceptable in the mass market. In April, the company merged with Monty Program, the major force behind MariaDB. The merger reunited the original members of the MySQL AB team.

But the challenge will come from the increasingly splintered database community. Developers like the simplicity of NoSQL and its easy deployment. It has its faults but developers need ways to produce faster, especially in this age when application development is becoming less of a craft than ever before.