Q&A: Exploring Modern Database Infrastructure in the MariaDB OpenWorks Operations Track


This is part two in our continuing Q&A series with key MariaDB stakeholders in the lead-up to the 2019 MariaDB OpenWorks conference. Today, we’re talking with Austin Rutherford, VP of Customer Success at MariaDB. He’s overseeing the Operations track at this year’s show.

What insights will people gain from the Operations track that they might not get from one of our webinars?

I am really excited about the Operations track this year. The industry is moving so fast in this area – we’re pulling in product and capabilities that didn’t exist 90 days ago. Everyone’s talking about how to best manage and deploy their database infrastructure in new modern ways. Do I use containers, public cloud, what architecture, etc.? These are complex questions and you’ll have the opportunity to learn from SMEs and other customers asking the same questions!

What’s your take on the movement toward all things hybrid?

There used to be a question, “Should I move to the cloud?” – that was so 2017! Now most companies have a presence in the cloud and they are deciding how to balance on-prem vs. public cloud and also wondering whether they should be looking at deploying on multiple clouds. Now that companies have made the leap into cloud they’re focusing on the next level of operational efficiency.

What would you like people to know about the Operations track that isn’t obvious from the session descriptions?

This question is easier. Years of experience. The one item that doesn’t come across in the track descriptions is the experience the presenters have on these topics. Many of the presenters (internal and external) have been working with databases for 10+ years. As an example, I look at the high availability session description and it looks really good and then I realize it’s Wagner Bianchi who is leading it. Bianchi has been helping some of our largest customers as part of our RDBA team for years – he has a wealth of knowledge! You have [MariaDB lead sales engineer] Anders Karlsson doing MaxScale – the list goes on!!

MariaDB has talked quite a bit about scalability in the past year; when we hear about “extreme scale,” how extreme are we talking?

To give some perspective, we often talk to customers who are using MariaDB at scales that make even us do a double take (at last year’s conference, ServiceNow shared that they deployed 85,000 instances of MariaDB). Needless to say, at MariaDB, we’re really excited that we can support any database workload at enterprise scale. Most other database solutions you can scale up writes and scale out reads (we make this even easier with MaxScale), but the moment you have scaled up for writes as big as you can, you’re done. ClustrixDB – technology we acquired last year – allows you to scale out reads and writes to as many servers as needed. As an example, if you had 1M transactions per second (TPS) running on 16 nodes and you needed 2M TPS, then you could just add 16 more modes – it’s that simple!

What database/MariaDB topic do you most want people to learn more about?

That’s a tough one, kind of like choosing which child is your favorite! Joking aside, we started with a large number of topics and put a lot of focus on selecting the highest-value and most relevant ones. Running databases on Kubernetes/Docker is something that I have heard a lot of interest in from our customers and that helps solve a lot of challenges around self-service provisioning and management (and creates a few interesting new ones, as well!). The other topic is MaxScale. We’ve had two releases since our last user conference and the product has so much to offer – it’s no longer just a database proxy. It now offers automated failover, transaction replays, causal reads and much, much more.

We hope to see you in NYC at MariaDB OpenWorks – but if you can’t make it this year, sign up to watch the live-streamed keynote presentation on February 26 at 9 a.m. ET.