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What is MariaDB?

Stefan Posted by


MariaDB is a database engine, first released in 2009. It’s an open-source fork of the MySQL database management system, designed as a drop-in replacement for MySQL in the LAMP software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), and is generally replacing MySQL in modern operating systems.

What differentiates MariaDB from MySQL is its more open-source development, which has allowed it to grow faster and with more new major features in each update than MySQL. While MySQL has wider distribution and simpler installation, MariaDB provides greater flexibility, improved performance and more features than can be found in MySQL.

What does MariaDB let me do?

Almost all web applications you’ll use need some kind of database service to store data about things like products, orders, blog posts and comments, which is known as ‘transient’ data. This data is served more effectively using a database service like MariaDB, rather than through storage in flat files, because it makes the data easier to access, edit and work with.

MariaDB provides the database service for web applications hosted with Nublue. A database service is a necessary part of every major web application that can be hosted with Nublue, including Magento, Magento 2, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and OwnCloud.

When do Nublue use MariaDB?

We’ve always exclusively been a Linux web host, and we started out providing the LAMP software stack as our hosting offering in August 2005. MariaDB now makes up the database component of our LAMP stack on all our new hosting packages, but we can also replace MySQL with MariaDB on our hosting clients’ existing VPSs and dedicated servers if they prefer.

While MySQL is the standard database service for PHP web applications, we instead chose MariaDB because of its additional speed, expanded development rate, more responsive bug fix program and open-source principles. MariaDB is also the default database server in Red Hat Linux 7, although we use a newer iteration.

Additional notable features with MariaDB

Essentially MariaDB gives you all the benefits of MySQL plus added extras, so it’s a win-win! Its benefits include:

  • Improved speed
  • Multi-source replication
  • Greater number of storage engines
  • Storage-engine-specific Create Table
  • Fewer bugs and compiler warnings
  • More comprehensive testing suite
  • Test builds with various configure options
  • Ability to remove invalid tests

One of MariaDB’s great advantages is its open-source development. All of its development actions are publicised on a public mailing list; all new patches are developed with full transparency and the software has a relatively high number of contributors compared with MySQL. MariaDB’s contributors are also highly active in its administration and documentation, making it likely that the software will be consistently well maintained.

Since MariaDB is an offshoot of MySQL (and a drop-in replacement for it) it aims for full-feature compatibility with MySQL, as well as other MySQL variants (or ‘forks’). Because MariaDB is built from a fully forked code base, it doesn’t take a specific version of MySQL and apply its patches, but instead builds in the features that MySQL provides into its own code.

MariaDB’s community are known for their commitment and attention to detail, so security releases tend to be fast, transparent and well documented in its comprehensive knowledge base. New features are reviewed in-depth before release, and released earlier than those in MySQL. MariaDB also offers a greater number of storage engines than MySQL, better performance benchmarks by comparison, and is easy to run as a full drop-in replacement.

MariaDB also has the immeasurable benefit of being preferred by some of the biggest names online, which has further boosted its popularity. It’s now the database service of choice for Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist and, as well as one of the key sponsors of the MariaDB Foundation, Automattic – the brand behind WordPress.

Further resources




Author Stefan

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