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How do you solve a problem like MariaDB? Give it $20m ... right, Intel?

SkySQL bags Chipzilla's gold, prepares to rip MySQL out of 'key Linux distros'

MariaDB expert SkySQL has taken on $20m in filthy valley lucre to help it build a drop-in replacement database for Oracle's MySQL.

The funding was announced on Tuesday and follows our story in September that revealed Google is shifting all of its internal MySQL instances over to the open-source MariaDB system due to political disagreements with Oracle.

MySQL may be open source, but a wave of paranoia is sweeping through the database industry and causing many companies to have second thoughts about the venerable system.

Now, chip giant and Oracle-rival Intel has joined the fray with its investment wing Intel Capital leading a $20m Series B investment round in the SkySQL database vendor. SkySQL merged with the Monty Program Ab in April, uniting the key members from the original MySQL development teams and forming a MariaDB powerhouse.

Other investors include California Technology Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Open Ocean Capital, and Spintop Private Partners.

"The funding will be used to invest in the MariaDB open source project, to better support the company's rapidly growing community and user base worldwide, and to develop commercial solutions for scaling the MariaDB database server," according to a canned statement.

Though the annoucement tries to paint MariaDB as some kind of uber-database, with SkySQL chief Patrik Sallner quoted as saying it "delivers clear benefits over existing relational databases", we reckon this is a red herring as the database is a like-for-like drop in for MySQL.

When we asked Google's MySQL expert Jeremy Cole about the technical differences between the two he told us: "From my perspective, they're more or less equivalent other than if you look at specific features and how they implement them."

But the system may start to diverge from MySQL in new releases, Sallner told us.

"We are notably investing in improved replication, scalability, NoSQL interoperability and GIS/location features," he said via email. "We will also promote MariaDB adoption particularly in key Linux distros as well as the main SaaS, PaaS and IaaS providers."

So far, Fedora, openSUSE and Red Hat are all in the process of swapping MariaDB in for MySQL.

"We will also invest to accelerate the growth of the business via sales and marketing. Funds will primarily be spent on hiring more resources," Sallner told us.

The funding will be seen as a boon for the system, and Intel's involvement implies confidence in the project, and perhaps a desire to hedge against MySQL going off the boil. ®

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