UPDATED 12:20 EDT / MAY 24 2018

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MariaDB guns for Oracle with latest release of open-source database engine

MariaDB Corp. is openly targeting database kingpin Oracle Corp., releasing a new version of its open-source database today with features that have previously been available only in expensive proprietary products.

The company said MariaDB TX 3.0 is the first enterprise open-source database to provide full Oracle compatibility, including support for sequences and a stored procedure language that complies with Oracle’s PL/SQL.

That enables existing Oracle customers to migrate to an open-source alternative while reusing existing code and skills. Bank of Singapore Ltd. has already migrated hundreds of thousands of lines of Oracle PL/SQL to MariaDB as part of a broad-based migration project, the company said.

MariaDB uses separate storage engines to simultaneously support transactional, analytical, write-intensive or highly scalable databases. In addition to existing support for InnoDB for transactional queries and ColumnStore for analytical queries, this release adds MyRocks, a storage engine optimized for use with solid-state drives, and Spider, a distributed storage engine for large databases distributed across multiple instances. Another new enterprise-class feature is the ability to anonymize data through complete data obfuscation or to pseudo-anonymize it through full or partial data masking.

Version 3.0 also introduces temporal processing, a feature that maintains a record of changes to data over time without the need to add new rows and their associated complexity and confusion. Using temporal processing, users can construct a standard SQL query to see what data looked like at a previous point in time, a feature that’s useful in tracking changing customer buying preferences, for example.

Temporal processing is available in products like Oracle Flashback and Microsoft Temporal Tables, but has not heretofore been released under an open-source license “because it’s so difficult and time-consuming to implement,” said Shane Johnson, MariaDB’s senior director of product marketing. “In any software project, the first 90 percent isn’t too difficult, but you have to invest a lot of resources and time in the last mile.”

MariaDB has focused much of its recent effort on that last mile, Johnson said. “Over the past year we’ve had a couple of great funding rounds and an increasing number of customers who are moving over mission-critical applications,” he said. “For the first time, we can challenge the incumbents with features that no one in open source can talk about.”

MariaDB distributes most of its software under the GNU General Public License, but some security components are covered by the Business Source License, which grants certain protections to the author that expire after four years.

Image: Unsplash

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