Updates to MariaDB SkySQL bring distributed SQL to the MariaDB cloud

MariaDB announced a major expansion of MariaDB SkySQL cloud database. With this update, SkySQL now runs the latest version of MariaDB Platform X5, which most notably added distributed SQL capabilities for global scale.

With the ability to be deployed as clustered or distributed, MariaDB SkySQL addresses customers’ specific needs all within one powerful, indestructible cloud database.

“We built MariaDB SkySQL to reduce the complexities introduced by first-generation cloud databases,” said Michael Howard, CEO, MariaDB Corporation.

“The current landscape requires a smorgasbord of cloud services to get a single job done – AWS RDS for simple transactions, Aurora for availability and performance, Redshift for cloud data warehousing and Google Spanner for distributed SQL.

“SkySQL gives you all these capabilities in one elegant cloud database that delivers a consistent MariaDB experience regardless of the way you deploy it.”

A cloud database that grows with you

For organizations, with success and growth come new requirements and challenges. Standard transactions with high availability is a good starting place for any business but as a company grows, a cloud data warehouse for fast data analysis may be necessary or massive scalability may be required to keep up with worldwide demand.

With MariaDB SkySQL, customers can start small and have a path to expand to meet any future requirement – adaptively, pragmatically and with extreme ease.

Open book pricing reflects open source integrity

MariaDB is taking a cloud database pricing approach that is transparent and predictable for customers. Rather than upcharge for high availability setup, failover, backups or a database proxy for a single connection point, SkySQL is all-inclusive.

Unlike with other cloud providers, failover replicas can be fully utilized for read scale rather than existing as an insurance policy only.

Expanded SkySQL features

SkySQL now supports MariaDB Platform X5, including the latest versions of MariaDB Enterprise Server, advanced database proxy MaxScale and smart engines ColumnStore and Xpand for new and expanded cloud capabilities, and offers:

  • MariaDB Platform for distributed SQL: Xpand is a new smart engine that delivers distributed SQL through MariaDB Enterprise Server. This functionality is now also available in SkySQL with elastic scale, making it easy to increase or decrease capacity to handle anticipated usage spikes, such as increased shopping around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Xpand in SkySQL also automatically rebalances data hotspots for optimum performance.
  • MariaDB Platform for analytics: SkySQL includes a fully distributed cloud data warehouse that now provides massively parallel processing (MPP) for scalability and high availability on large datasets.
  • End-to-end security: All SkySQL databases are secure by default, built from the ground up to provide the ultimate security in the cloud. SkySQL now also enforces secure SSL/TLS connections for any database access, avoiding exposure of data due to insecure defaults or configuration choices.
  • Radically reduced complexity for application development: SkySQL provides a single connection point for applications rather than exposing individual database instances, primaries or high availability replicas. SkySQL manages read/write-splitting, seamless failover and application session migration. The result is fault tolerance and efficient use of resources that is completely transparent to developers and end users.
  • Expanded monitoring: SkySQL monitoring shows the status and all vital metrics for database instances and is highly customizable. The monitoring tool is updated to support the new topologies enabled in this new release of SkySQL such as Xpand for distributed SQL.

With database attacks on the rise, how can companies protect themselves?

Misconfigured or unsecured databases exposed on the open web are a fact of life. We hear about some of them because security researchers tell us how they discovered them, pinpointed their owners and alerted them, but many others are found by attackers first.

exposed databases

It used to take months to scan the Internet looking for open systems, but attackers now have access to free and easy-to-use scanning tools that can find them in less than an hour.

“As one honeypot experiment showed, open databases are targeted hundreds of times within a few hours,” Josh Bressers, product security lead at Elastic, told Help Net Security.

“There’s no way to leave unsecured data online without opening the data up to attack. This is why it’s crucial to always enable security and authentication features when setting up databases, so that your organization avoids this risk altogether.”

What do attackers do with exposed databases?

Bressers has been involved in the security of products and projects – especially open-source – for a very long time. In the past two decades, he created the product security division at Progeny Linux Systems and worked as a manager of the Red Hat product security team and headed the security strategy in Red Hat’s Platform Business Unit.

He now manages bug bounties, penetration testing and security vulnerability programs for Elastic’s products, as well as the company’s efforts to improve application security, add new and improve existing security features as needed or requested by customers.

The problem with exposed Elasticsearch (MariaDB, MongoDB, etc.) databases, he says, is that they are often left unsecured by developers by mistake and companies don’t discover the exposure quickly.

“The scanning tools do most of the work, so it’s up to the attacker to decide if the database has any data worth stealing,” he noted, and pointed out that this isn’t hacking, exactly – it’s mining of open services.

Attackers can quickly exfiltrate the accessible data, hold it for ransom, sell it to the highest bidder, modify it or simply delete it all.

“Sometimes there’s no clear advantage or motive. For example, this summer saw a string of cyberattacks called the Meow Bot attacks that have affected at least 25,000 databases so far. The attacker replaced the contents of every afflicted database with the word ‘meow’ but has not been identified or revealed anything behind the purpose of the attack,” he explained.

Advice for organizations that use clustered databases

Open-source database platforms such as Elasticsearch have built-in security to prevent attacks of this nature, but developers often disable those features in haste or due to a lack of understanding that their actions can put customer data at risk, Bressers says.

“The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to secure data is having a clear understanding of what you are securing and what it means to your organization. How sensitive is the data? What level of security needs to be applied? Who should have access?” he explained.

“Sometimes working with a partner who is an expert at running a modern database is a more secure alternative than doing it yourself. Sometimes it’s not. Modern data management is a new problem for many organizations; make sure your people understand the opportunities and challenges. And most importantly, make sure they have the tools and training.”

Secondly, he says, companies should set up external scanning systems that continuously check for exposed databases.

“These may be the same tools used by attackers, but they immediately notify security teams when a developer has mistakenly left sensitive data unlocked. For example, a free scanner is available from Shadowserver.”

Elastic offers information and documentation on how to enable the security features of Elasticsearch databases and prevent exposure, he adds and points out that security is enabled by default in their Elasticsearch Service on Elastic Cloud and cannot be disabled.

Defense in depth

No organization will ever be 100% safe, but steps can be taken to decrease a company’s attack surface. “Defense in depth” is the name of the game, Bressers says, and in this case, it should include the following security layers:

  • Discovery of data exposure (using the previously mentioned external scanning systems)
  • Strong authentication (SSO or usernames/passwords)
  • Prioritization of data access (e.g., HR may only need access to employee information and the accounting department may only need access to budget and tax data)
  • Deployment of monitoring infrastructures and automated solutions that can quickly identify potential problems before they become emergencies, isolate infected databases, and flag to support and IT teams for next steps

He also advises organizations that don’t have the internal expertise to set security configurations and managing a clustered database to hire of service providers that can handle data management and have a strong security portfolio, and to always have a mitigation plan in place and rehearse it with their IT and security teams so that when something does happen, they can execute a swift and intentional response.

MariaDB announces Platform X5, a comprehensive open source database solution

MariaDB announced the general availability of MariaDB Platform X5, a comprehensive open source database solution delivering the ultimate in versatility across workloads and scalability from a single database or data warehouse to millions of transactions per second.

This major release introduces powerful upgrades to every component of the platform as well as the addition of the new MariaDB Xpand smart engine for distributed SQL for global scale and nonstop availability. MariaDB Platform X5 supports companies at any point in their growth, delivering the confidence to go boldly anywhere.

“MariaDB Platform X5 is the culmination of years of deep engineering work to bring together best-of-breed technologies in a meaningful way,” said Michael Howard, CEO, MariaDB Corporation.

“We’re once again challenging the notion that you have to have different databases to get a single job done. With MariaDB Platform X5, our customers can start small and go big – adaptively, pragmatically and with extreme ease.”

Go boldly anywhere

Being prepared for any journey, and never having to worry about going back to square one for retooling, is the peace of mind every IT architect and decision-maker desires.

MariaDB is the database for IT explorers, it is both versatile and scalable, and capable of solving the vast majority of workload challenges including interactive analytics, schema flexibility, continuous availability and now massive scalability with high availability.

Leveraging the popularity of MariaDB’s MySQL heritage, MariaDB is universally approachable and familiar to tens of millions of users around the world. MariaDB Platform X5 solves for any size, any problem – giving companies the confidence to go boldly anywhere.

Upgrades to every major component of MariaDB Platform

Xpand for distributed SQL: New to MariaDB Platform X5 is the Xpand smart engine based on a distributed SQL architecture. MariaDB Platform with Xpand delivers the ultimate flexibility for elastic scale out and high availability with the ability to distribute the entire database or only select tables.

This fine-tuned flexibility allows companies to start small and expand to any scale when needed. With Xpand enabled, MariaDB Platform is capable of executing millions of transactions per second.

InnoDB refresh: InnoDB, the default engine used in MariaDB Platform for transactions, receives a significant refresh for improved performance. Key tuning parameters like redo log size and the number of purge threads can now be changed at runtime without requiring a restart.

ColumnStore improvements: In addition to optimizations for performance and improvements in collation, implementation of an API for cluster management simplifies massive parallel processing (MPP) and high availability (HA) deployments.

HA orchestration: MariaDB MaxScale has long been used for platform services such as query routing, read-write splitting and HA for multi-node transactional deployments. In this release, the role of HA orchestration was extended to analytical deployments leveraging the new ColumnStore APIs, delivering a more cohesive architecture that is simple to install and manage.

Security: Adds a new plugin for popular HashiCorp Vault to manage encryption keys outside of the database.

Apache Kafka and Redis integrations: MariaDB Platform X5 integrates with modern data infrastructure such as Kafka and Redis, publishing data to Kafka topics and caching query results in a Redis cluster.

Customers benefit by boosting query performance for a better user experience, reducing database utilization to lower hardware costs, and replicating data to external systems to unlock new features and insights.

MariaDB’s $25M funding round expands reach and development of SkySQL

MariaDB announced a $25 million funding round supporting the company goals to expand the reach and development of its cloud database, MariaDB SkySQL. Led by SmartFin Capital, with participation from existing investors and new investor GP Bullhound, the round brings the total investment in MariaDB to over $125 million.

“MariaDB continues to exceed our expectations,” said Jürgen Ingels, founding partner, SmartFin Capital. “The company’s innovation in cloud database technology will help support the rapid growth in IT modernization that businesses large and small are pursuing to keep up with the world around us.

“We feel MariaDB is well-positioned to take a large share of the growing cloud database market as companies continue to push forward into the cloud. We are proud to invest more in MariaDB to continue their exceptional growth.”

Companies are increasingly moving to the cloud as part of efforts to modernize their business and keep up with changing times. “By 2022, 75% of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform, with only 5% ever considered for repatriation to on-premises,” according to Gartner.

SkySQL is MariaDB’s database-as-a-service (DBaaS) built and managed by the creators of the database. It’s the only DBaaS to bring the full power of the MariaDB Platform to the cloud supporting a new generation of modern applications with fast transactions and real-time analytics.

Built on a state-of-the-art, cloud-agnostic foundation with full customization capabilities, SkySQL lets customers pursue a cloud strategy that best meets their needs. The funding, part of an extension to the company’s series C funding, allows MariaDB to scale its SkySQL operations to more quickly support the growing demand for cloud databases.

“Expanding MariaDB SkySQL cloud operations is our key focus. There is an addressable and immediate market need with a growing number of companies who want to enable faster innovation and agility by adopting cloud technologies and shifting database management to DBaaS solutions,” said Michael Howard, CEO, MariaDB Corporation.

“The funding extension gives us an immediate infusion to scale SkySQL faster, while doubling our valuation in a streamlined fundraising process that sets a path for our next steps.”

“MariaDB has risen to be a household name in the IT industry,” said Per Roman, co-founder and managing partner of GP Bullhound. “We have been particularly interested in MariaDB’s focus on bringing its flexibility, security and stability to the cloud. That’s why we’re excited to invest in MariaDB, as we see enormous opportunities for its SkySQL product.”

MariaDB helps customers, big and small, realize the benefits of public and private clouds. MariaDB is everywhere, in every major public cloud, major Linux distribution and through SkySQL, reaching millions of technologists.

DBS Bank, ServiceNow, Walgreens, Samsung and more than 75% of the Fortune 500 all run MariaDB, touching the lives of billions of people every day.

How does COVID-19 impact cloud adoption?

99% of IT professionals worldwide indicated an impact on their business today related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a MariaDB survey reveals.

COVID-19 impact cloud adoption

The situation only slightly improves looking ahead to 2021, with 84% expecting a continued impact. And 74% of respondents expect a second wave of COVID-19 impact, with 51% planning to move more applications to the cloud to prepare for it.

Cloud adoption accelerating for some, slowing for others

The impact on businesses’ cloud adoption plans – with 40% currently accelerating their move to the cloud – has led to increases across a range of related decisions as companies prepare for future COVID-related shutdowns. When asked to select all that apply, the top choices on this topic were:

  • 51% are planning to move more applications to the cloud
  • 39% expect to be 100% in the cloud
  • 32% are starting a move to the cloud

On the flip side, 24% of all respondents said they are slowing down their move to the cloud because of COVID-19’s impact. The U.S. indicated the highest percentage of slowing (36%), while the U.K. had the lowest (12%).

Specific to cloud databases, when asked what would prevent them from going “all-in” (choosing all that apply), the results showed:

  • Security: 73%
  • Price: 46%
  • Compatibility: 45%
  • Scalability: 35%
  • Migration: 33%
  • Lack of multi-cloud offering: 21%

Forever WFH

With 74% of respondents expecting new challenges because of a second wave of the pandemic, technologists are implementing a variety of technology changes to prepare for future shutdowns.

  • The two strategies being implemented most are (choosing all that apply): Set up remote access for all employees (57%) and move more applications to the cloud (51%).
  • 46% of respondents are implementing “forever” work-from-home (WFH) strategies.
  • European respondents favor implementing remote access setups and permanent WFH strategies as the top two priorities to combat the fallout from the pandemic.
  • U.S. respondents agree on the top priority of favoring remote access setups, but differ on the second priority, indicating that moving applications to the cloud was #2.

In-person technology events – see you next year

One of the early consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was the cancellation of in-person corporate and technology events. While an overwhelming number of respondents miss these in-person events, 70% said the earliest they would consider attending an in-person technology event would be in 2021.

  • 73% of respondents indicated missing corporate and technology events “very much” or “extremely.”
  • 26% of respondents would consider attending an in-person technology event this year (2020), while 70% indicated the earliest they would attend would be in 2021.
  • U.S. respondents were more evenly split compared to Europeans. In the U.S., 41% said they would consider an in-person event this year while 58% said next year would be the earliest.
  • 95% of respondents will change their ongoing technology event behavior as a result of COVID-19, with 25% saying they will only attend online events, 69% attending more online events, and 1% not attending any events at all.

MariaDB announces immediate availability of MariaDB SkySQL through Google Cloud Marketplace

MariaDB announced the immediate availability of MariaDB SkySQL through the Google Cloud Marketplace. SkySQL is the first database-as-a-service (DBaaS) to unlock the full power of MariaDB Platform for transactions, analytics and both, optimized with a cloud-native Kubernetes-based architecture and backed from the source, the engineers who built the database.

The availability of SkySQL on the Google Cloud Marketplace eliminates the need for additional contracts with separate terms and conditions, and provides the same ease of access and unified billing of any other product in Google Cloud’s rich ecosystem of solutions.

“We are proud to debut SkySQL, the first fully containerized, relational enterprise cloud database offering, on the Google Cloud Marketplace,” said Kevin Farley, Director of Strategic Alliances, MariaDB Corporation.

“The addition of SkySQL in the Google Cloud Marketplace allows joint customers to build predictability into their cloud modernization budgets while ensuring mission-critical workloads are built and run on a best-of-breed integrated platform. This ultimately brings more choice and value for our customers.”

“We’re excited to partner with MariaDB to deliver its SkySQL cloud database platform on Google Cloud,” said Manvinder Singh, Director, Partnerships at Google Cloud.

“Customers can now quickly deploy and manage MariaDB SkySQL from the Google Cloud Marketplace, providing unified billing, increased ease of use, and a streamlined path to leveraging SkySQL’s analytics and transactional capabilities on Google Cloud.”

SkySQL with standard MariaDB support is available using pay-as-you-go credits on the Google Cloud Marketplace. Custom packaging is available for customers that need more capacity, additional support tiers or customization.

MariaDB SkySQL: Deploy production databases for mission-critical applications running in the cloud

MariaDB announced the immediate availability of MariaDB SkySQL, the first database-as-a-service (DBaaS) to unlock the full power of MariaDB Platform for transactions, analytics or both, and optimized with a cloud-native architecture.

MariaDB SkySQL

SkySQL delivers the “MariaDB in the cloud” experience customers have been waiting for – fully featured, fully customizable and backed by world-class support and database expertise from the source, the engineers who built it.

“The universal need for accessible yet robust database services has never been higher – for around-the-clock critical operations and simplified analytics for a changing world,” said Michael Howard, CEO, MariaDB Corporation. “Existing services, long in the tooth, lock out community innovation, meaning patches, new versions and features are missing for literally years. MariaDB SkySQL is a next-generation cloud database, built by the world’s top database engineers in the industry, allowing organizations large and small to know they have an always-on partner to not only roll out new applications, but ensure a consistent and enduring quality of service.”

SkySQL: A better cloud database

First generation cloud databases emphasized convenience and price, yet also exposed certain gaps: stunted features that eliminate the ability to lift and shift to the cloud; limited configurations; mission-critical capabilities that are missing; entire industries alienated; and a lack of critical database expertise.

SkySQL is the result of MariaDB’s mission to build a new and better cloud database, delivering customer requirements through technology and people.

Mission critical for all: SkySQL is built using the highest standards for high availability, scalability and security, including: support for failover across multiple zones, self-healing, read load balancing, transparent read/write splitting, IP whitelisting and end-to-end encryption. It is the only DBaaS leveraging MariaDB Enterprise Server for greater stability, reliability and security above and beyond the popular MariaDB Community Server. SkySQL also helps its customers meet GDPR requirements and is HIPAA-compliant.

Always on, always ready: SkySQL runs on the latest version of MariaDB Platform so users always have access to the latest features, improvements and security updates.

Support for smart transactions: SkySQL supports transactions, analytics and smart transactions. It’s the first DBaaS to offer row, columnar, and combined row and columnar storage.

Expertise from the source: SkySQL is the first and only DBaaS built for MariaDB by MariaDB. With decades of database engineering, support and administration experience, SkySQL customers get the same world-class support and peace of mind on-prem customers enjoy today. A DBaaS direct from the source means customers get the added benefit of influencing feature decisions and revenue is reinvested back into MariaDB innovation.

State-of-the-art architecture

SkySQL implements a modern architecture leveraging Kubernetes for container orchestration; ServiceNow for inventory, configuration and workflow management; and Prometheus and Grafana for real-time monitoring and visualization. Designed for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, SkySQL frees customers to use the cloud infrastructure of their choice rather than be locked into one public cloud vendor’s ecosystem.


MariaDB is the first to offer cloud database administrator (DBA) support for a DBaaS, giving customers the ability to offload tasks that cannot be automated. Certified cloud architects implement best practices and deliver consultative support to customers in times of need. With SkySQL and MariaDB SkyDBAs, customers get database automation with personalized oversight, proactive care and immediate intervention if necessary.