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MariaDB expands SkySQL cloud database for high availability

The Xpand distributed SQL capability is now generally available on the MariaDB SkySQL DBaaS, providing users with more performance and scalability.

Open source database vendor MariaDB updated its SkySQL cloud database platform with new capabilities that became available May 6.

The MariaDB SkySQL update comes as demand for cloud database as a service (DBaaS) technology is growing amid the pandemic.

Cloud database revenues are on track to account for more than half of all database revenues by 2022, according to Gartner.

With the new updates, MariaDB is looking to capture more of the growing market, by providing support for AWS PrivateLink for secure DBaaS connectivity.

MariaDB also made its Xpand distributed SQL capabilities generally available, also on May 6, for users of SkySQL. The Xpand distributed SQL functionality was introduced as a preview in the MariaDB X5 platform in July 2020. With Xpand, MariaDB is providing its users with improved scalability and high-availability functionality, the vendor said.

The MariaDB SkySQL customer base includes Financial Network, Inc. (FNI), which provides credit decisioning as a service. Bryan Bancroft, lead database administrator at FNI, explained that the company runs a MariaDB SkySQL cluster with 1.5 TB of storage, in a system that has a high turnover of data.

Over the last seven days in SkySQL's monitoring tool, FNI had a peak of around 7k QPS (queries per second) sustained for 27 minutes, Bancroft said.

"This is allowing us to track our usage and plan growth as we continue to sign new clients," he said.

MariaDB SkySQL builds out MaxScale

In terms of the new updates to MariaDB SkySQL, Bancroft said he's interested in the MaxScale capability.

MaxScale acts as a single endpoint that hides the database from the application, and handles automatic failover, read/write splitting, load balancing and transaction replay. For FNI, MaxScale would help provide more availability for its data-heavy application load.

Bhavin Modi, director of engineering at MariaDB, said MaxScale can be thought of as a proxy layer between the database and a load balancer and is exposed as an endpoint MariaDB provides to its customers. He noted that in the latest update of the SkySQL DBaaS, users such as FNI can now have more than one MaxScale endpoint at a time, which can help to enable more redundancy.

Screenshot of MariaDB SkySQL welcome page.
MariaDB has integrated distributed SQL into its SkySQL database as a service, enabling users to support increasingly large-scale transaction volumes.

MariaDB SkySQL brings Xpand distributed SQL to the cloud

SkySQL customers now also can use the Xpand distributed SQL capabilities in the cloud database platform.

Modi explained that distributed SQL enables database transaction to be scaled out across a cluster providing increased high availability and scalability for users.

On the path to Xpand becoming a generally available service, MariaDB has been working on performance improvements, as well as specific cloud integration on AWS and Google Cloud, Modi noted. MariaDB SkySQL is not yet available on Microsoft Azure, though the MariaDB expects it to be later in 2021.

Xpand will make it easier for database administrators to expand scale as needed, Modi said.

"You basically get different parameters to not only just scale up your database with minimal interaction, but also get some cloud-provided performance capabilities through our portal," Modi said.

[SkySQL's monitoring tool] is allowing us to track our usage and plan growth as we continue to sign new clients.
Bryan BancroftLead database administrator, FNI

AWS PrivateLink comes to MariaDB SkySQL

The ability to connect securely to the cloud is also being enhanced in the latest MariaDB SkySQL update with support for AWS PrivateLink.

Among the ways that database administrators will connect with a cloud database is with some form of VPN tunnel, as well as with address lists that restrict access to certain authorized IP addresses. AWS PrivateLink provides users with highly secured private connections into the cloud, Modi said.

"AWS PrivateLink was built for the sake of SaaS [software as a service] providers and takes away that issue of having to coordinate IP address ranges," Modi said. "I think it's one of the big features for customers who are security conscious and want to make sure that that data is not going over the public internet."

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