MariaDB CEO says big proprietary cloud vendors “strip-mining open-source technologies and companies”

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At the MariaDB OpenWorks held earlier this week, MariaDB CEO Michael Howard took a stab at big proprietary cloud vendors and accused them of “strip-mining open-source technologies and companies,” and “abusing the license and privilege, not giving back to the community.”

His keynote at the event described his plans for MariaDB, the future of MariaDB, and how he plans for MariaDB on becoming an ‘heir to Oracle and much more’. Furthermore, the entire keynote saw instances of Howard targeting his rivals- namely Amazon and Oracle- and comparing MariaDB mottos to its rivals.

“We believe proprietary and closed licenses are dead. We believe you have to be a general-purpose database and not a relegated niche one, like–and nothing against it–time series. That’s not going to be a general purpose database that will drive applications worldwide.” MariaDB is an example of such a database.

Accusations on Oracle and Amazon AWS

Targeting Oracle, Howard said, “Now, you can migrate complex operational Oracle systems to MariaDB. Last year, we had one of the largest banks–Development Bank of Singapore–in the world forklift from Oracle to MariaDB. Since then, MariaDB has seen five times the number of Oracle migrations happening over the last year.”


Howard has also accused Amazon’s AWS of promoting its brand and making MariaDB instances on AWS look incompetent in the process. When Austin Rutherford, MariaDB’s VP of Customer Success, showed the audience the result of a HammerDB benchmark on AWS EC2, AWS’s default MariaDB instances did poorly. The AWS homebrew Aurora, which is built on top of MySQL, consistently beat the former database. The top-performing DBMS was MariaDB Managed Services on AWS. While these results initially were not a major cause of concern, Howard observed that one of the biggest retail drug companies in the world-and a MariaDB customer-had told MariaDB that “Amazon offers the most vanilla MariaDB around. There’s nothing enterprise about it. We could just install MariaDB from source on EC2 and do as well.”

It was then that he “began to wonder, Is there something that they’re deliberately crippling?” Further adding “There is something not kosher happening.” Comparing MariaDB to Aurora, Howard said, “The best Aurora can do in a failover is 12 seconds. MariaDB can do it less than a second.”

‘Heir to Oracle’

In his keynote, he speaks about making MariaDB the ‘heir apparent’ to Oracle, even including a checklist of what needs to be achieved to be that ‘drop-in’ replacement for the market-leading database.

Source: Computerworld UK

According to The Register, just last year, MariaDB released an Oracle compatibility layer, which allows customers to migrate their applications from Oracle to MariaDB, and also use their internal skills. “All these Oracle application developers and people familiar with Oracle – you can’t just say ‘jump off a cliff onto new ground’; you have to give them a bridge. Sometimes that’s emotional, sometimes it’s technical.”

“It was so jarring to the proprietary vendors who pride themselves on secrecy, on taking advantage – at least monetarily, in the margins sense – from customers,” he said. “Open-source destroys these artificial definitions and boundaries that have been so, so much a part of the software industry.”

Speaking to Computerworld UK , Howard further explained his views on the big cloud vendors. “Oracle as the example of on-premise lock-in and Amazon being the example of cloud lock-in. You could interchange the names, you can honestly say now that Amazon should just be called Oracle Prime, they have gone so aggressive. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on whose position you want to take, it’s all good for MariaDB because we can act as consumer protection. We are going to protect the brand quality and technical quality of our product no matter where it sits.”

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