Why Top Spanish Business School Esade Migrated from MySQL to MariaDB Enterprise Server


Esade Ramon Llull University is a top business school located in Barcelona, Spain. They are committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders worldwide and welcoming people from various business realities, geographies, and cultures. In 2021, their student community included over 125 nationalities.

The Esade faculty aims to give their students the best possible opportunities by adapting to new learning trends, such as online/hybrid learning options and virtual reality technologies. But to adapt to these new technologies, they needed to create a robust environment to support their student-facing platforms adequately. This environment specifically had to support asynchronous learning efforts, as their school prioritizes working with remote students around the world.

We spoke with Xavier Solanellas and Miguel Lopez, IT Systems Managers at Esade, and learned more about how they leverage MariaDB Enterprise Server to support the university’s critical eLearning platform.

What made you decide to start looking for a new database?

We wanted to start using a clustered database to support a higher volume of users on our eLearning platform, Moodle. Our existing setup included MySQL community edition, Apache Web Server, PHP, HAProxy, and Redis. This free version of MySQL didn’t fit our critical production environment, as it performed poorly with Moodle’s roughly 1000 daily concurrent users.

Because MySQL wasn’t robust enough for our eLearning platform, our students experienced low availability, especially when taking quizzes. These slowdowns affected around 7,000 students, hindering our efforts to bring holistic learning to people worldwide.

This poor performance created many inconveniences and frustrations, as students rely on Moodle for online/hybrid learning and use this platform to access assignments, tests, online class meetings, and discussions with other students.

We decided implementing a new database with better high availability would be the next best step to improve site availability and concurrency — especially for quizzes. Because Moodle natively supports MariaDB and MySQL, we only evaluated these two options and directly compared them.

Why did you choose MariaDB Enterprise Server instead of upgrading to MySQL Enterprise?

MariaDB Enterprise Server offers great features for clustering, such as high query speed and robust support for a large volume of users. In particular, we use MariaDB Galera Cluster, which enables multimaster clustering.

The MariaDB team also provides database support for any issues that might arise. For example, our new cluster started generating dirty transactions after we stood it up. The team worked with us to identify and fix the issue quickly.

What was it like to migrate from MySQL to MariaDB Enterprise Server? 

The migration process was very straightforward. We simply used dump files to capture our existing MySQL operations, reviewed the configuration variables, and then imported everything into MariaDB Enterprise Server. We also implemented the MariaDB MaxScale advanced database proxy, making it simple for our team to access the MariaDB cluster from the front end.

What’s next for Esade with MariaDB?

We are happy with our current MariaDB Enterprise Server deployment and plan to maintain and evolve it. Overall, we are confident that MariaDB Enterprise Server is the right database to support our future growth.