MariaDB SkySQL: A Second-Generation Cloud Database for Modern Applications

The world of cloud databases has evolved dramatically in recent years, and today’s applications require a new breed of cloud databases that can handle dynamic scaling, tiered storage, and cloud-agnostic architectures. Enter MariaDB SkySQL, a second generation cloud database designed to meet the needs of modern applications (think microservices and apps built for agility).

Our latest SkySQL release introduces a range of powerful new features, including a redesigned user interface for enhanced productivity, cloud-agnostic APIs for seamless integration with multiple clouds, autoscaling capabilities that automatically optimizes compute and storage, and a pay-only-for-consumption serverless offering for data analytics.

But what truly sets SkySQL apart is our second-generation approach to cloud databases. Unlike first-generation cloud database solutions that are cloud vendor locked and focus solely on day-0/day-1 operations, SkySQL is designed to be multi-cloud and cloud-neutral, enabling consistent management of your data across clouds and on-premises environments. We also prioritize day-2 operations, providing automation for scaling, health assessment and alerting, freeing you from traditional DBA responsibilities.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting features we’ve introduced in the latest release of MariaDB SkySQL.

Cost Reduction through Right-Sizing, Low-Cost CPU Architectures, and Auto-Scaling

While cloud-first strategies have spurred innovation, they have also brought new challenges such as out-of-control costs and increasing complexity. The pace of application development forces customers to manage hundreds of databases, many of which are development and test databases. Most production databases follow predictable daily and weekly usage patterns, creating opportunities to reduce resources without human intervention. This is particularly true of SaaS providers and other OEMs that embed databases in their products and services.

To address these resource planning challenges, SkySQL offers two exciting features. As a DBA, you can use scale operations (via the SkySQL Portal or API) to add more nodes, CPU/memory, or storage. Alternatively, you can rely on the intelligent predictive algorithm built into SkySQL to determine scaling requirements and automatically scale (horizontally or vertically) compute and storage for changing workloads. Additionally, this release supports ARM-based instances, which provide 25% more performance and are less expensive than comparable Intel processors.

Check out this documentation for more information.

Redesigned User Interface

Our user interface has been completely revamped to offer a more modern and visually appealing experience that caters to the needs of modern application development and deployment. We’ve made complex aspects like private cloud networking auto-configurable with sensible defaults, so developers can get started quickly and easily while still having the flexibility to customize their configurations later on. Our dashboard provides a single pane of glass view into the health of all your global databases, along with an integrated observability portal that offers real-time updates on all relevant metrics. What’s more, our observability service is now multi and hybrid cloud-compatible, giving you even more flexibility and control. We’ll explore this in greater detail in an upcoming blog post.

SkySQL new UI

Built-in Developer Productivity Tools

We’ve also added a number of developer productivity tools to SkySQL, including a brand-new, user-friendly Query Editor that lets you load and execute queries on your SkySQL databases directly from the portal. Plus, we’ve introduced a Notebook interface based on Apache Zeppelin that enables developers to collaborate and explore data together. To help you get started, we’ve included several demo examples that show you how to work with large datasets in cloud storage (e.g. S3 and GCS), load or offload data to/from SkySQL databases, and run exploratory analytics without ever leaving the SkySQL portal.

New MariaDB SkySQL developer productivity tools

Build NoSQL Applications with MariaDB

While MariaDB is renowned for its SQL capabilities, it has also supported JSON and object data models natively for some time. With a simple flip of a switch, you can enable the MongoDB wire protocol and start building NoSQL applications using MariaDB. For instance, a Node.js microservice could store JSON documents while another reporting microservice could access the same data in real-time using SQL. This interoperability between NoSQL and SQL is delivered with all the optimizations in MariaDB, making it an attractive option for modern application development. Learn more about it here.

Build Global Applications with MariaDB Xpand

MariaDB Xpand is our distributed SQL database that offers a globally scalable solution for deployments with millions of users. Unlike other global-scale databases that enforce global consistency through synchronous locking across regions, Xpand relies on an asynchronous but highly parallelized algorithm for replication and consistency, which isn’t exposed to inter-region failures and latency issues. With the current SkySQL release, you can effortlessly set up global Xpand clusters that span multiple regions and cloud providers. Read more about it here.

Pay-only-for-consumption, Zero-ETL Operational Analytics

The new pay-for-use serverless analytics service introduced by SkySQL offers a cost-effective and straightforward way to run analytics on any database, hosted either on SkySQL or in your data lake. Unlike public cloud providers, SkySQL’s analytics service operates directly on your data sources, automatically pipelining from your production database into the analytics engine and doing any required transformations on the fly. This eliminates the need for complex pipelines into a warehouse or data lake before analysis, which can be costly, time-consuming, and complicated.

The service offers zero-ETL analytics, allowing you to run ad-hoc or advanced analytics on production data instantly without the need for complex data pipelines or transformations. This is similar to capabilities in Translytical or Hybrid databases, but with two significant differences. Firstly, compute resources required are allocated on demand, making it serverless and significantly reducing interference with your Online/OLTP application to run analytics (a common problem with reporting and visualization exercises around transactional data). Secondly, you only pay for the CPU your queries consume, and with the introduction of Serverless powered by Apache Spark, you can now deploy it with just one click and at zero initial cost. SkySQL’s serverless analytics service is a game-changer for operational analytics, and a future blog will explore the architectural details of how it delivers zero-ETL analytics.

DevOps Automation with Cloud-Agnostic APIs

We have enhanced our cloud APIs to enable customers to automate every aspect of their application and development lifecycle, including provisioning, scaling, observing, tuning, and decommissioning. With this improvement, CloudOps and DevOps teams can use an “Infrastructure as Code” framework like TerraForm to automate their development or production deployments. By integrating their CI/CD pipelines with their application deployment code, DevOps can easily fix issues across testing and production environments, resulting in increased productivity and reduced code variability.

You can check out the REST API here and the SkySQL Terraform Provider here.

Get Started with MariaDB SkySQL’s New Release

Great! That sounds like an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in exploring the new SkySQL release. The auto scaling, serverless analytics, data science notebook, and the new query editor are exciting features that can improve productivity and reduce costs. And with $500 in credits and nearly 3,800 hours of free trial time, it’s a great time to try SkySQL and see how it can benefit your organization. Head to https://staging-mdb.com/products/skysql/get-started/ to sign up and get started today!

By the way, join us at MariaDB OpenWorks May 9-10 in NYC and Virtually to learn about the latest innovations from MariaDB, build new skills and learn best practices around MariaDB in the cloud. Register at mariadb.com/openworks.