How MariaDB Helps Specialized Media Dashboard Save 7x its Database Cost


For many of us, we start our day by reading the news to keep us informed and educated about the changing events and issues around the world. Behind every news source, there’s a monitoring system.

Specialized Media Dashboard (SMD) is a free, open source media monitoring system that provides up-to-date dashboards and reports designed for journalists, law enforcement personnel and climate change specialists. Currently, the SMD database platform has roughly 10 million media articles stored; 3 million articles focused on crimes and other incidents, and 7 million articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their current project – the Climate Change Crisis News database – has 1 million articles to date.

We recently spoke with Daniel Kwee, founder of SMD, and a finalist in the prestigious MariaDB Wavemaker Awards, to learn more about how MariaDB helps SMD store their data and what they are currently working on.

Can you share more about how SMD collects data?

SMD extracts data from multiple sources, such as Google News, and inputs it into a Google spreadsheet. We provide a complete business intelligence (BI) analytical platform to our users. It consists of several dashboards, maps and tables from important media articles that show worldwide security-related incidents that are automatically classified in the following three main categories: COVID-19, crimes and other incidents, and climate change. SMD provides valuable data to identify current and future crimes patterns worldwide. It assists journalists and law enforcement personnel to identify new crimes and modus operandi used by criminals.

What made you start to look at MariaDB?

We needed to find an affordable, simple and easy-to-use database that would allow us to merge and manipulate the large amounts of collected data seamlessly. Our biggest challenge was combining and categorizing datasets from multiple sheets (up to 60 at a time) and other data sources into a single spreadsheet. We were looking for a database that was also reliable and could handle the influx of datasets. MariaDB allows SMD to integrate multiple data sources seamlessly and create custom dashboards and reports to be then updated automatically in Google Data Studio and Microsoft Power BI.

How has MariaDB helped SMD?

MariaDB has successfully helped SMD during its critical phases of engineering work for the prototype of the dashboard’s creation. With the help of MariaDB’s simple database management, SMD was able to fully automate the process of extracting, merging and organizing all the international crime media articles scattered over multiple data sources. With MariaDB, SMD is able to manipulate a huge amount of data with just a few clicks and save hours of work.

What was the problem with your previous database system?

Unfortunately, SMD’s databases were stored onto several Windows Servers hosted on Ikoula hosting platform. Since moving to MariaDB in a private cloud, we’ve been able to save 7x our database cost.

Is there a current project that SMD is working on?

Currently, SMD is working on an urgent project: an extensive Climate Change Crisis News database that aims to address the critical global warming issues for the next 10 years, according to the United Nations and various environmental organizations. The system will enable the reduction of current and future eco and climate crimes, contributing to efforts to tackle global climate change.

What’s next for you with MariaDB?

MariaDB powers our current Climate Change Crisis News database and we plan to continue using MariaDB. We are very interested in moving to the cloud with MariaDB SkySQL to receive the full benefits of the Enterprise version of MariaDB without dealing with the complexity of deploying a database on a cloud infrastructure. Migrating to SkySQL is definitely on our roadmap.