Server MiniFest Wed 10 Dec 2021: From the Frontlines

Join our next Server MiniFest, to get the latest news from the MariaDB Server frontlines – in a fresh format inspired by Not the Nine O’Clock News.

Not the Nine O’Clock News?

We may not be as funny as the famous BBC2 sketch comedy aired 1979-82. Let me correct myself: We don’t even aspire to be funny. But we do want to be interesting to follow, and make it easy for you to keep watching – not switching off the MariaDB channel for something else.

And we do that by replicating the fast tempo of the comedy role model. “The pace was enhanced by jump-cutting between library clips, usually of politicians, royalty, or celebrities. Then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher complained when, by adroit image editing, the programme implied she had crashed a car.“, it says in the Wikipedia article about the comedy show. Hear, hear!

Waldorf and Statler

So how have we let the BBC sketch format be our role model?

Instead of jump-cutting, we increase the pace by having interviews interrupted by third-person commentaries. Instead of politicians, royalty, or celebrities, we have a Foundation chairman, a founder and key developers. And I promise we will not imply Monty has crashed his beloved Tesla.

The commentaries are in themselves rather inspired by The Muppet Show, or specifically the two old gentlemen who consistently jeered the entirety of the cast and their performances from their balcony seat. However, our incarnations of Waldorf and Statler will not primarily be heckling the presenters or interviews, but adding their own thoughts and taking notes for later.

The belligerent choice of theme

The theme of the day is “From the Frontlines”. By “the frontlines”, we mean where the software meets the users, and where we explore new frontiers of the usage of MariaDB Server.

The catchy phrase comes from Oli Sennhauser of FromDual, one of our interviewees. He is an independent consultant specialised in MariaDB Server, based in Switzerland, and working across a number of European countries. Thinking back at his times as a consultant with MySQL AB over a dozen years ago, he feels consultants are out there where the software meets the real world – whereas the development happens at a safe distance behind the frontlines. 

While the distance from the frontlines allows the developers to concentrate on creating the features needed, it also means that developers are somewhat isolated from the realities of how the software is used. And hence, we want to theme the last MariaDB Server MiniFest of 2021 around reporting back from what users say.

Lessons from the consultants

At many MariaDB Server Fests, we have let large users tell their stories. We’ve interviewed Microsoft, DBS Bank, and other big guys. But MariaDB Server is being used by organisations of all sizes. So it is time to let their voices be heard. 

That’s why we have a number of sessions devoted to interviews with what one could call “aggregated end users”. What is the reality faced by the many users of MariaDB Server, who don’t establish a personal relationship with MariaDB Foundation? What can other MariaDB users learn from the consultants, and what can MariaDB Foundation learn from them? 

A special consultant here is Rick James, who guides a lot of MariaDB Server newbies on StackOverflow. What are their prime issues? What are the lessons for the old hands? And what should we at MariaDB Foundation learn, in order to further simplify the usage of MariaDB Server?

An update on MariaDB 10.7  

The frontier of MariaDB Server is right now at MariaDB 10.7. At the forefront here is Sergei Golubchik, Vice President of Engineering for MariaDB Server. In an interview, he will tell us about the goals of having the new model of releasing MariaDB 10.7 Preview releases, how the goals were implemented, and what lessons could be learned in the two months after the preview releases came out.

Security news from the enclave: EdgelessDB

The technology forefront is often in the area of security. Encrypting data on disk can be done by all apps, and the same goes for authentication. But what happens if your level of security includes distrust of the admins? What if you postulate that the enemy is already somewhere inside your server – can you still run applications securely? It turns out you can, running enclaves on Intel SGX. Edgeless Systems has implemented a new database, EdgelessDB, which essentially is MariaDB Server running in enclaves. The interview with their CEO Felix Schuster will give you the details.  

Grande finale: Overall pandemic-compatible panel session

The grande finale will include our Waldorfs and Statlers, reinforced by a developer or two. It will be a panel session, where the themes from the individual interviews are brought up again. Notes taken by Waldorf and/or Statler will be pondered about in a session where the moderator and panelists are in the same room, as much as pandemic travel allows for. And the room will be in Villa Widenius, in Monty’s home in Grankulla, Finland.

Welcome to join the MariaDB Server Minifest, Fri 10 Dec 2021!