MariaDB MaxScale: at scale yes, but at a proprietary license cost

MariaDB is a database that was created as a community-developed ‘fork’ of the MySQL relational database management system and, as such, has always been free to use under the GNU General Public License.

Recent developments though have seen MariaDB announce the availability of MariaDB Galera Cluster 5.5.51 Stable (GA) and MariaDB Connector/J 1.5.1 Release Candidate (RC). But… the MariaDB corporation (as opposed to the Foundation) is also reported to be releasing its MaxScale database proxy software under a proprietary licence.

MaxScale will now be available under what has been called (by MariaDB’s Michael “Monty” Widenius) as a Business Source Licence and usage of the software is free when an application uses the software with a total of less than three database server instances for production purposes.

“The open source model presents challenges to creating a software company that has the needed resources to continually invest in product development and innovation. One reason for this is a lack of understanding of the costs associated with developing and extending software. As one example of what I regard to be unrealistic user expectations,” writes Widenius.

The product is described as an open source, dynamic data routing platform for minimum downtime, security, scalability and interoperability beyond MariaDB and MySQL.

MariaDB MaxScale is a database proxy that sits between a database layer and the clients of that database — the technology itself is said to be a fundamental element in terms of being able to monetise MariaDB due to its ability to enable MariaDB at enterprise scale.

“Built upon MaxScale’s Binlog Server functionality, you can now stream transactional data in real time from MariaDB to other big data stores like Hadoop or a data warehouse through messaging systems, like Kafka, for real-time analytics and machine learning applications. The package includes sample client applications for a Kafka producer and a standalone Python application to receive streaming data from MaxScale,” explains Dipti Joshi, senior product manager for MariaDB MaxScale.

A new fork has already surfaced in reaction to this development.

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