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Top 10 reasons to migrate to MariaDB

by Abraham
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MariaDB is a commercially supported fork for MySQL and a community-developed RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) whose sole intention is to offer free service and offer open-source software following the GNU General Public License. MariaDB derived its name from ‘Widenius’ young daughter ‘Maria’ whereas MySQL derived its name from his other daughter ‘My.’

MySQL was created by a Swedish/Finnish company known as MySQL AB. This company was founded by David Axmark, Widenius Michael, and Larsson Allan. Its first version was released in 1995 with the sole purpose of being used for personal usage. However, as years passed, the edition slowly grew into an enterprise-grade DB. As a result, it quickly took over the space being the most popular open-source relational database management system (RDBMS).

In 2008 the Sun Microsystems purchased MySQL for $1Billion. However, after gathering and acquiring all of Sun Microsystems, the Oracle company, with approval from the EC (European Commission) in 2009, stopped the transaction. Its major fears were that the merger would harm the database community and markets since MySQL was the main competitor of Oracle’s database products. Oracle, therefore, was not allowed to purchase MySQL who was their major competitor.

In the same year (2009), MySQL developers forked and created MariaDB out of distrust in the stewardship of MySQL by Oracle. However, as time passed by, MariaDB started replacing MySQL in several aspects. Research indicates that more people have migrated from MySQL to MariaDB since its inception than the number of those who have migrated from MariaDB to MySQL.

Top 10 reasons to migrate to MariaDB

This article is a comprehensive guide containing the top 10 reasons why you should opt to migrate to MariaDB. This does not necessarily mean you should be a MySQL user to migrate. You might be using other database management systems such as Microsoft, and you wish to try a more manageable database management system. Then this article is for you.

1. MariaDB offers more and better storage engines

This is one of the primary reasons you should migrate to MariaDB. MariaDB is known for its excellence in the number of storage engines plus other plugins it comes with. For instance:

  • The Cassandra and Connect storage engines for rolling migrations and NoSQL backends.
  • TokuDB that contains fractal indexes
  • Rolling migrations from legacy bound databases
  • Spider for sharding.

The plugins mentioned above are available for MySQL as third-party apps while in MariaDB they are among the official release package that guarantees proper integration of the plugins for efficient use.

2. MariaDB offers better performance

The performance of MariaDB has been majorly influenced by the improvements made on the query optimizer and some other performance-related tasks. As a result, most benchmarks show that MariaDB is quite faster in service execution compared to MySQL. However, according to the stats provided by benchmarks, it is not fair to judge since they always don’t directly relate to actual life circumstances.

But most companies that have migrated have recorded quite a speed improvement. For instance, the Zenutech organization experienced an average gain of 5% compared to MySQL. Therefore, if this is the case, we recommend that you migrate to MariaDB since faster is always preferred, and it is a more straightforward solution than slower options.

3. MariaDB offers quicker and more transparent security releases

Oracle is tasked to make regular security releases for all of its products to enhance stability and efficiency. Therefore, its security releases are provided after every three months. However, this is not the case with MySQL since its security releases are provided every two months. This has been a challenge since some security updates, information, and upgrades are not properly synced.

Also, a notable thing about the security releases of MySQL is that the notes lack CVE identifiers for the releases fix. Some MySQL clients have complained about the vague security announcements that lack commits that fixed them, making it impossible to perform patch management and backporting for the administrators that cannot be upgraded from the provided Oracle releases.

However, MariaDB is known for following all the industry-provided standards when releasing security upgrades, information, and fixes concurrently and efficiently, handling post-transparency and pre-secrecy.

In addition, MariaDB release notes contain all the CVE identifiers pedantically. They also update their release notes whenever new CVE identifiers are created concerning issues that MariaDB includes fixes for.

4. MariaDB offers more cutting-edge features

Despite MySQL version 5.7 having some cool features such as GIS support, MariaDB has had more new features since its inception. Mostly MariaDB had to go through extensive review before release compared to MySQL. Hence if you compare the cutting-edge features, MariaDB delivers the best with most minor bugs.

The GIS support that was introduced in MySQL 5.7 was introduced in MariaDB 5.3 series. The GIS support made coordinate storing and querying of location data much more manageable. In addition, MariaDB is the only database management system that allows the NoSQL functionality type. This is known as the Dynamic column support, where one single database interface provides both SQL needed for diverse project needs.

5. Oracle Stewardship is uncertain in MariaDB as it is in MySQL

Most people have lots of worries concerning the interest of Oracle in keeping and maintaining MySQL. Oracle was denied the opportunity to acquire Sun Microsystems, the owner of MySQL, by the European Commission legislation.

The main reason behind the denial of the acquisition was that MySQL was the sole competitor to Oracle’s database products. However, after Oracle published and promised to keep MySQL competitive and alive, the European Commission approved the deal, which made Oracle the new MySQL owner.

The main question, however, is what Oracle will do to make MySQL competitive as promised? Despite arguments from people concerning the success of MySQL, Oracle confidently argues out that MySQL has been more successful than previous years quoting examples of projects such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

MariaDB is, however, miles ahead since it does not contain stewardship concerns like its sister MySQL. Software freedom is paramount for the success of any product that wishes to do so in a competitive field.

6. MariaDB is easy to migrate and is compatible

Migrating to MariaDB is as simple as ABC. All you need to do is run the command below or its equivalent depending on the Linux distro you are running on your computer.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server

The good thing about this command is that it will install MariaDB, and it contains all the official MariaDB repositories. This is the reason why MariaDB is said to be compact.

Note: Database admins should take extra precautions to test and backup the databases for safety reasons. This might be underlooked since the migration process looks relatively easy.

7. MariaDB has gained and leaped in popularity

Over the years, MariaDB has taken over the market. This has been noted with the several changes that happened with some major companies and organizations. For instance, the most significant change reported was the migration of Wikipedia in 2013 from MySQL to MariaDB. The enormous Wiki system migrated from MySQL indicated the direction influential organizations and companies were willing to take.

Most of you know about WordPress. However, the database that this enormous company adopted is MariaDB. Google also was another company that started using MariaDB in running its internal systems. Therefore, this clearly shows how much MariaDB leaped in popularity.

Other Linux distro users such as OpenSUSE and Fedora also adopted MariaDB as their default SQL database management system. This shows how MariaDB has gained popularity in the market. In addition, other Linux releases such as SUSE Enterprise and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 also opted to use MariaDB as their default database management system compared to MySQL.

Debian was another huge hit that made MariaDB much famous as it was adopted as its primary database management system. All the examples mentioned depict how MariaDB has grown over time, gaining popularity.

8. MariaDB contains Galera active-active master clustering

Unlike the traditional MySQL master-slave replication, Galera brings in some new features and prospects of the clustering engine, thus enabling master-master replication. This is an added advantage to MariaDB/MySQL since it allows for new scalability architecture.

The Galera development was created in 2007, but it has never been part of the official Oracle MYSQL version. However, both MariaDB and Percona flavors implemented the Galera-based cluster.

The new releases of MariaDB have been projected to have much better Galera support since it will be included in the main version and not in separate cluster versions as it was in the past. Enabling Galera clustering is all about correct parameter configuration in MariaDB server installers.

9. MariaDB development is more vibrant and open

MySQL has had new developers after its acquisition by Oracle, making it distinct from all other open-source projects that Oracle acquired from Sun. for instance, the anticipated MySQL version 5.7 release will contain significant upgrades and improvements from its previous version (MySQL 5.6).

However, most commit logs of 5.7 can be termed being self-centered since they only capture the commits of the internal Oracle trackers giving no room for open community discussions. Furthermore, Oracle aims to update the public code repository in big patches post-release only, thus providing no space for new commits. This development effort only benefits the internal Oracle users, but it is a nuisance to the general public as it will not benefit from the feedback disseminated by the public.

On the other hand, MariaDB has been fully developed in the open, giving room to developmental insight from the public, which has aided improve the development of the database management system. In addition, compared to MySQL, contributing to MariaDB is much easier, and their patch flow is transparent (they have an up-to-date public code repository).

Research indicates that the GitHub statistics of MySQL are much lower compared to MariaDB GitHub stats. For example, MySQL version 5.7 has 24 GitHub stats contributors, while MariaDB version 10.1 GitHub stats contains 44 contributors. This difference indicates how Open MariaDB is compared to MySQL.

Apart from code contributors, MariaDB is also noted to have more active contributions in documentation efforts and package distribution, which are vital in daily database administration. Because of this difference in engagement, MySQL has had a few communities around it, while MariaDB has had a large community behind it.

Also, most Linux distros are vital players in software testing, delivery, and quality sharing increases the chances of MariaDB being a much more effective database management system that will have proper upstream and downstream maintenance in the years to come.

10. After 2015, migration will be complex

Due to the rapid technological advancements, several MariaDB versions are being released, making it hard to be compatible with the previous MySQL versions, thus making migration difficult. For instance, MySQL user’s version 5.6 can comfortably migrate to MariaDB version 10.0 without much strain. However, the case will not be the same in the future since compatibility between version 5.7 of MySQL and version 10.1 of MariaDB is unknown.

Therefore, we recommend earlier migration when compatibility between the database versions is still good. This will help prevent future cases whereby binary incompatibilities can quickly take over, making it difficult to migrate data from the previous versions to the newly released version.

Note: To avoid problems, migrate before changes occur in the future


We have seen from the article how and why we should move to MariaDB. MariaDB is seen to be more efficient compared to other database products hence the reason for migration. From efficiency, speed, security, and the other reasons mentioned in the article, we have no reason not to migrate to MariaDB. In addition, the process is quite simple and manageable; hence you have no reason to worry about it.

Suppose you are a newbie and would like to know more about MariaDB, you can refer to other articles such as “How to install and use MariaDB, create a user in MariaDB in both Linux and windows, and How to create and work with MariaDB database.” This article comprehensively covers all aspects of MariaDB, both for Linux and Windows users.

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