Attending SuseCon24

Last week MariaDB was present at SuseCon, both MariaDB Foundation as well as representatives from MariaDB Plc. The MariaDB Foundation has never attended SuseCon in the past, so this was an exciting new event for us. I’ll give you my view on the event and why I think it is a great event for the Open Source Software community.

The conference motto – #choice

SUSE’s focus is not on prescribing a particular technology, rather empowering its users to make the best choice for their situation. Most products in SUSE’s line-up work with multiple distributions and multiple software platforms. For example, Rancher Server supports MariaDB, MySQL, PostgresSQL, with many different versions. One can choose the right database for their needs.

SUSE Manager helps manage large infrastructure deployments all from a single control panel. It supports all major Linux distributions, so you are not locked into any particular distro. In this case as well, one can choose the right distribution for one’s enterprise.
The #choice message is also quite clear in all the other tools / platforms that SUSE supports, not “prescribing” any one in particular. And this brings me to MariaDB’s mission and how SUSE plays a part:

Monty ready to answer questions about reducing Oracle licensing costs!

The MariaDB Booth

MariaDB had a booth at SuseCon, manned mostly by myself and Monty, the founder of MariaDB. Our main focus was to share the story of MariaDB and interact with our userbase, which was very engaging at SuseCon.
Out of the discussions we had, the key takeaways I want to highlight:

  1. Many companies rely on MariaDB for their production needs. Usually, MariaDB is not the only database in the system. Some features present in other databases are not yet available in MariaDB and that forces some migrations. One feature, a very interesting performance optimization and quality of life improvement for our users was already created back in 2016:
    MDEV-11588 – Support for ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY functional dependency.
    And the other one I’ve created after the conference:
    MDEV-34461 – Transactional TRUNCATE
  2. There is an interesting feature in Intel processors, called Trust Domain Extensions (TDX) to enable confidential computing. Preliminary discussions lead me to believe that this could work out of the box with MariaDB. We will investigate and do a joint test case with Intel.
  3. Many users are still not aware of Oracle compatibility mode, despite it being a feature of MariaDB since 10.3. MariaDB has a proven track record of being able to replace Oracle database with none or very little application changes. This is a key feature to highlight more at conferences.
Meeting with SUSE to discuss collaboration!

Better support for MariaDB in SUSE

While there is not an official agreement as of now on a particular course of action, it is in both MariaDB’s and SUSE’s interest to have MariaDB Server well-tested and supported in SUSE. A large percentage of online websites today run MariaDB Server with a WordPress CMS (the exact numbers are hard to track down, which is why I encourage you to enable the Feedback Plugin). SUSE uses RPM package format, but there are many tests that need to be done to make sure everything works smoothly in production. We already have dedicated CI/CD for OpenSUSE and SLES, but more use cases and upgrade scenarios need to be covered. And we haven’t even gotten into the container world as the official MariaDB images on Dockerhub are based off Ubuntu.

We had quite a few discussions at SuseCon about which directions to explore. Expect more on this in the future.

Final thoughts

SuseCon is a conference bringing Open Source users together, especially big enterprises that have fully embraced Open Source. It is a great opportunity to understand our community with a focus on running business critical applications. Given the amount of interaction we’ve had, I highly recommend attending SuseCon next time, especially if you’re using Open Source software in a professional setting.