Call it West Side Story of Silicon Valley. Instead of The Jets versus The Sharks though, it's a battle of open source databases –and Oracle against Google, two giants of the Silicon Valley tech scene, battling it out.
And Google? It just met a girl named Maria, and suddenly the name will never be the same for it. That's because rather quietly over the past several months, Google has been migrating thousands of internal MySQL databases to MariaDB.
A Register story reported on the change last week and Google confirmed it in an email yesterday. "Google's MySQL team is in the process of moving internal users of MySQL at Google from MySQL 5.1 to MariaDB 10.0," a Google spokesperson wrote to me in an email.
Google tried to pass it off as not a terribly big deal, but let's face it, it's not a trivial matter to migrate thousands of internal databases from one platform to another, yet they have chosen to do it. The Register article also indicated that Google has assigned an engineer to the MariaDB project. Google confirmed that it's working closely with the MariaDB team at SkySQL, one of the companies administering the MariaDB.
"Google's MySQL team and the SkySQL MariaDB team are looking forward to working together to advance the reliability and feature set of MariaDB," the Google spokesperson wrote.
Perhaps there is a bit more drama here than meets the eye though because MySQL is run by none other than Oracle. It could be a case of being a better database or it could be Google wanting to stick it to Oracle after its legal battle over Java.
As Brian Proffitt wrote on ReadWrite, "After all, Oracle has spent a lot of time and legal effort over the past few years attempting to establish that Google had committed copyright infringement by copying portions of Java code into Google's Android operating system… And as Proffitt said, apparently Google has a long memory. Indeed.
In which case, it could be nothing more than an old-fashioned battle of Silicon Valley titans after all. Just a case of the two juggernauts going for one another's throats. But Steven J Vaughan–Nichols who has been covering open source for years, thinks it's less about politics and more about control.
"Google is moving to MariaDB for the same reason Red Hat and other companies are moving to MariaDB–they get more say in both the general direction and fine details of its design. MySQL is still open source, but under Oracle's control it's become far less responsive to outside developers. Specifically Google developers feel that Oracle is more concerned about adding new features while Google wants improved stability and performance," he told me.
Whatever the reason, it's clear that Google has moved on and is going all in with MariaDB, whether it's because of technical reasons or just to spite the opposition. And increasingly, it seems, Oracle is getting left out of the open source database conversation.