Adjusting the MariaDB Server release model

We changed our release model two years ago

A bit over two years ago, MariaDB Foundation and MariaDB plc jointly announced what we called our new Innovation Release Model. Since the end of 2021, we have gained experiences from it, some of which were aired by Sergei Golubchik last October in a MariaDB Unconference presentation called The Past, the Present and the Future of the MariaDB release model (a 23:05 long video).

We spoke about an emphasis on more frequent new features, and an increased engagement with the community through four yearly opportunities for contributors to see their code merged.

MariaDB Contribution Statistics, January 2024

It is the start of a new year, and with that brings the start of a new quarter, which means it is time for a contribution statistics update from us. I have lots of interesting data to walk you through this time, so let’s get started.

Year On Year Comparison

A good place to start would be to compare the previous year gone by with last year to see how we did. This table shows the number of organisations, contributors and commits to MariaDB Server in the last few years. The “Non-MariaDB” lines are contributors and commits by people who are not employed by MariaDB Plc or MariaDB Foundation.

Generative AI and MariaDB Server

“Generative AI is a can of worms that has to be opened”. That was the laconic comment from a senior industry influencer, when I shared MariaDB Foundation’s plans for successively making MariaDB Server a platform for AI solutions. The statement combines the opportunity with the inevitability, the complexity with the need for stepwise refinement.

Late to the game?

Are we late to the game? I believe not. I believe this is the right timing. Open Source isn’t a pioneer when it comes to basic research or even early product development.

MariaDB Contribution Statistics, October 2023

We are in October, which means it has been 4 months since the last metrics report. It is, therefore, time for another quarterly metrics report (plus a bit more). The extra month was to allow for an announcement which is a prerequisite for this post, and it also means we are more or less aligned to real quarters. The major changes to this will come in the second half of this post, we have lots of additional data for pull requests. With that, let’s get started.

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Feedback requested: The Good/Bad/Ugly

Hi, we from the MariaDB Foundation are having a set of meetings with developers and senior managers from all over the world. We’d like your feedback on the Good/Bad/Ugly bits of MariaDB Server as you see it, and generally what we could be doing better. Please leave comments here, or Reddit, or email discuss@lists.mariadb.org (subscription), or email me directly daniel@mariadb.org.

This will be discussed at the MariaDB (Un)conference 2023 and MariaDB Server Fest 2023 which you are welcome to attend also to state your cases in person.

Database changes should be SCARY

“The only workload that matters is my production workload” (for all values of “my”). So you can manage this responsibility, SCARY is a software tool which aims to take the uncertainty out of change; software, configuration and hardware changes. This is very early in development, but projects have to start somewhere.

SCARY takes a read view of the production database query execution, and does the equivalent query on a copy of the production database, that has differences. The query speed, query plan, data result (eventually) will be recorded along with what went on in production.

Join us in planning the MariaDB Server Roadmap

MariaDB Foundation is having its next planning session for the MariaDB Server Roadmap at our MariaDB Unconference Tue-Wed 3-4 October 2023.

All key contributors will be there

This will be a top-level meeting with representatives of all key contributors to MariaDB Server. From MariaDB plc, we will have CTO Jonah Harris and VP Server Engineering Sergei Golubchik representing management and resource allocation. But MariaDB Server is not a one-vendor product. We expect similar level representation from our second-biggest contributor, Amazon, and we also have confirmed roadmap attendance by Webpros, Alibaba, IBM, Intel, and others.

Run and operate MariaDB in Kubernetes with mariadb-operator

The introduction of the StatefulSet resource was a game changer when it comes to run stateful workloads in Kubernetes, introducing a wide range of features, including:

  • Predictable DNS names for each Pod, allowing one to individually address them in the network.
  • Stable persistent storage for each Pod, ensuring that each of them is bound to the same PersistentVolumeClaim.
  • Ordered graceful deployments and automated rolling updates.

However, this isn’t quite enough for running databases in Kubernetes in a reliable way. We are missing day 1 and day 2 operations, such as configuring high availability and scheduling backups, which is something not managed by vanilla Kubernetes.