I’ve mentioned in past blog posts that not every contribution is a code contribution. There are many possible contributions that are valuable, including testing, bug reports, helping the community, etc.
Unfortunately, non-code contributions are sometimes invisible to the wider community, so today I wanted to shine a light on some such contributions. In this case, contributions made by one of our sponsors, Intel.
Intel have been an open source friendly company for a long time. But have recently pushed harder than ever towards open source, even giving their first ever new Innovation Award to Linus Torvalds.
Intel actually provide the MariaDB Foundation with support in many ways, even if you do not see them pop-up on my code contribution reports. Of course, being a sponsor, they provide some financial support that goes a long way to keeping MariaDB Server maintained, but they also do many other things for us.
For starters, Intel provide server resources for us to use for things such as Buildbot CI testing. This helps us a lot, because the servers they provide are often the latest high-performance hardware, which means that we can compile and test contributions quickly. This also helps to make sure that everything works well with the latest Intel hardware.
In the background, they are also testing releases against the latest and upcoming Intel hardware, to make sure that we can perform well on it. The benchmarking they run helps their customers too, if one of their customers wants to use a sever for MariaDB, they can recommend the hardware configuration that will suit their needs the best. If there are any issues found, these are fed back to us and recommendations are discussed so that performance and compatibility can be improved.
In a recent ticket they raised a performance issue they spotted with Marko Mäkelä (the lead InnoDB developer at the MariaDB Corporation) which was tracked in MDEV-27774. Intel also recommended a way of fixing it, which led to Marko and Vladislav Vaintroub working on a fix.
This combined with other enhancements have led to a near 50% increase in performance between 10.6 and 10.10 on Intel’s new Sapphire Rapids platform.
Intel are also providing support for the wider community. They have been working with the people behind EdgelessDB to improve the SGX support in the software. If you haven’t seen it before, EdgelessDB is a modified MariaDB Server which runs inside the Intel SGX secure enclave.
Look out for more collaborations between the MariaDB Foundation and Intel in the future!
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