SkySQL Merges With MariaDB Creator Monty Program To Solidify Its Open Source Database Position

Some consolidation in the world of open source database startups: SkySQL, a provider of open source database solutions, is merging with Monty Program Ab, the creators of MariaDB, an open source database technology that is used by Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and other services. The merger is also a reunion of sorts: both companies employ key people from MySQL, the database company that was bought by Sun in 2008, and in turn became a part of Oracle. Monty Program was founded and led by Michael “Monty” Widenius, the founder of MySQL.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed; the merger is expected to complete in four months.

As part of the deal, SkySQL says it will dedicate more resources to MariaDB to make it more interoperable with both NoSQL and SQL database systems, and it will also see SkySQL develop new solutions that allow users of MySQL and MariaDB databases “to manage their data effectively in the enterprise and cloud.” SkySQL says that MariaDB currently sees some 500,000 user downloads per year, not counting community Linux distributions.

Along with the merger, SkySQL announced its membership of the newly-formed, independent MariaDB Foundation, with money and other resources being dedicated to its development. “It is a pleasure to have a company representing the reunited core team of our code base joining the Foundation at its inception,” said Simon Phipps, CEO of the MariaDB Foundation, in a statement.

SkySQL says that its CEO, Patrik Sallner, will lead the merged company as CEO. Widenius, meanwhile, will be CTO of the MariaDB Foundation.

The deal could be a sign of how smaller open source database companies are looking to address challenges against competition from bigger players like Oracle and IBM, and how they can better ensure their longevity.

As described in a quirky comment from Widenius, “The MySQL database is named after my first daughter, My. The MariaDB database is named after my second daughter, Maria. With this merger and my own role in the MariaDB Foundation, I’m ensuring that the MariaDB project will remain ‘open source forever,’ while knowing that enterprise and community users of both the MySQL & MariaDB databases will benefit from best-in-breed products, services and support provided by SkySQL. And who doesn’t want the best for their kids?”

It is also a talent grab. “By bringing on board the talented MariaDB developer team, SkySQL proposes a comprehensive partnership to leading open source database users,” Sallner said in a statement. “We are committed to develop MariaDB into the most versatile open source database. We look forward to working with the MariaDB Foundation as they engage with developers and users of MariaDB as well as with their important mission of ensuring the independence of the MariaDB project itself.” Distilled down to actual challenges, SkySQL notes that issues it will need to address to make sure people stick with it are support for all MySQL database releases; interoperability; competitive costs and database security.