An Overview of the New DBaaS from MariaDB - SkySQL

Paul Namuag

MariaDB has recently launched its new DBaaS offering, SkySQL. It might be a surprise to some, but this has been an anticipated move from MariaDB as they have been actively pushing state of the art products for enterprise services over the last few years and have been actively competing with the large market vendors.

Prior to the SkySQL launch,  MariaDB has been working on containers and Helm Charts as far back as 2018. SkySQL offers database availability to multiple regions when setting up and launching your database instance.

What is MariaDB SkySQL?

MariaDB SkySQL is a DBaaS offering which means it's a fully-managed database service and is managed over a cloud service using the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Take note that the database offered by MariaDB is not the community edition. In fact, it is the MariaDB Enterprise Server alongside MariaDB ColumnStore (or both). 

The benefits of using this offering vs Amazon RDS or Microsoft Azure Database's MariaDB services offerings are versioning (SkySQL ensures users are on the most recent product release) as well as having analytics and transactional support. 

Integrated with its DBaaS is a configuration manager, monitoring with real-time metrics and graphs, and a workload analysis which showcases its machine learning service that identifies changes in workload patterns for proactive resource scaling and service consistency. It is an enticing product for the more avid users of MariaDB enterprise products to use MariaDB SkySQL.

Features of MariaDB SkySQL

MariaDB SkySQL boasts its full power of MariaDB Platform combining different types of their database types from transactions (common setup for OLTP), analytics or data warehousing (OLAP), or if requires a hybrid setup (combination of transactional and analytical database). The following below provides you the straightforward definition of these featured database services platforms:

Transactions

Optimized for fast transaction processing on persistent block storage – with read/write splitting and automatic failover configured and enabled out of the box for transparent load balancing and high availability.

Analytics

Optimized to run ad hoc queries on billions of rows without indexes, combining columnar data on low-cost object storage with multi-threaded query processing – perfect for cloud data warehousing/analytics.

Hybrid or Both

Optimized for smart transaction processing in the cloud, storing data both as rows on persistent block storage and as columns on object storage – create modern applications by enriching transactions with real-time analytics.

The MariaDB SkySQL is also equipped boasting their world-class support which is included in the pricing (standard support) once you register and launch a database instance. There are other options also you can consider if you are on an enterprise level setup. You can opt-in for enterprise and platinum type of support. See more details in their pricing page.

Apart from these features, they also provide monitoring features for checking the status and general health of your database services. Although as of this writing, it is currently in Technical Preview, yet you can already use the service and gather metrics for more granular and real-time checks of your database instance.

The Availability Stack

This SkySQL platform is architectured with service reliability to achieve world class service delivery to the customers and consumers. Regardless how stable the platform is, it has to always fail so as to determine the resiliency of the product and how fast it can be available in case an outage happens and also reduce the RPO (Recovery Point Objective).

For infrastructure, they use the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and services rely heavily on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), a component of the GCP. This means alot for the platform itself since the services of MariaDB SkySQL run in containers powered by Kubernetes. It has the ability to offer resiliency of regional GKE clusters which includes multiple availability zones within a region. It acquires the auto-healing functionality from Kubernetes and also GCP's high SLA escalation at 99.5% uptime.

While it relies on GKE, this means it inherits the nature of Kubernetes from being able to restart the failed containers, fencing an unhealthy container which is automatically killed if detected as failed. Also dead containers are automatically replaced and happen in the background which is left unnoticeable by the naked eye in the customer's perspective.

Multi-Zones are implemented for a Primary/Replica setup which is a Transactions service database setup. It provisions replication primaries in a separate zone within a region from replication replicas. 

MaxScale plays on top for transactional type environments (primary/replica) such as OLTP or the Transactions service while it handles the auto-failover -- covers Transactions and Hybrid services. MaxScale monitors and checks the status of primaries and replicas. If it fails, MaxScale does the job to promote the most updated replica and make it as the new primary. The rest of replicas are then updated pointing to the new primary. Both Transactions and Hybrid service covers self-healing for MaxScale instances. Which means that if a MaxScale instance fails, it is restarted or replaced depending on the state of the issue.

All types of MariaDB SkySQL services do self-healing so it's always highly available for use. This means that if a specific instance fails, whether it's a MariaDB Enterprise Server or a MaxScale instance or a Kubernetes instance, it always adapts the resiliency that Kubernetes does.

Using MariaDB SkySQL

All you have to do is to register through their SkySQL main page. If you have an account, then you can login. It requires that you have to place your payment methods such as Credit/Debit card but you might contact them for more information on this.

Upon launching a service, there are three options you can choose from. See below:

MariaDB SkySQL

I've tested the platform and setup a Transactions service. This means that I have already set up a billing or payment method prior to this action.

While setting up, you are able to select which region you want to deploy your service. Also it has an overview of cost on which type of instance you are going to select. See below:

MariaDB SkySQL

and specify the number of replicas and its transaction storage size, then lastly the service name just like below:

MariaDB SkySQL

Since it runs within the cloud using GCP, it is essentially using the resources such as block storage and its performance that are available from Google Cloud.

Launching your database services might take some time before it can be available for use. In the end it took me ~10 minutes, so you might have to take your coffee break first and get back once it's ready for production use. Once up, this is what it looks like in your Dashboard:

MariaDB SkySQL

Clicking your newly launched service shows you more options to manage your database. It's roughly simple and very straightforward, nothing fancy UI's.

MariaDB SkySQL

All you need to do is specify the types of IP addresses that are required to access or interface the database server. Clicking the Show Credentials button will provide you information about your username, password, download your certificate authority chain, and provides you to connect and change the password.

MariaDB SkySQL

By the way, the information above is already scrap and deleted so exposing it imposes no security concerns.

Basically, I'm able to test this and have already provided the IP address that has to be whitelisted. So connecting via client shows you are more secure connection which channels over TLS/SSL layer:

[[email protected] ~]$ mysql --host sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net --port 5001 --user DB00002448 -p --ssl-ca ~/skysql_chain.pem

Enter password:

Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.

Your MySQL connection id is 32

Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server



Copyright (c) 2009-2020 Percona LLC and/or its affiliates

Copyright (c) 2000, 2020, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.



Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its

affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective

owners.



Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.



mysql> select @@hostname;

+-------------------+

| @@hostname        |

+-------------------+

| paultest-mdb-ms-0 |

+-------------------+

1 row in set (0.25 sec)



mysql> show schemas;

+--------------------+

| Database           |

+--------------------+

| information_schema |

| mysql              |

| performance_schema |

+--------------------+

3 rows in set (0.25 sec)



mysql> \s

--------------

mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.6.48-88.0, for Linux (x86_64) using  6.2



Connection id: 32

Current database:

Current user: [email protected]

SSL: Cipher in use is ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256

Current pager: stdout

Using outfile: ''

Using delimiter: ;

Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server

Protocol version: 10

Connection: sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net via TCP/IP

Server characterset: utf8mb4

Db     characterset: utf8mb4

Client characterset: utf8

Conn.  characterset: utf8

TCP port: 5001

Uptime: 10 min 17 sec



Threads: 12  Questions: 2108  Slow queries: 715  Opens: 26  Flush tables: 1  Open tables: 20  Queries per second avg: 3.416

--------------

The Configuration Manager

MariaDB SkySQL also equipped with a configuration manager that allows you to apply changes, versioned your own configuration updates, or clone an existing configuration, then apply it to a number of services you have in your MariaDB SkySQL account. It somehow share some approach of handling configuration with our Configuration Files Management For example,

[vagrant@ansnode1 ~]$ mysql --host sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net --port 5001 --user DB00002448 -p --ssl-ca ~/skysql_chain.pem  Enter password:  Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.  Your MySQL connection id is 32  Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server    Copyright (c) 2009-2020 Percona LLC and/or its affiliates  Copyright (c) 2000, 2020, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.    Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its  affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective  owners.    Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.    mysql> select @@hostname;  +-------------------+  | @@hostname        |  +-------------------+  | paultest-mdb-ms-0 |  +-------------------+  1 row in set (0.25 sec)    mysql> show schemas;  +--------------------+  | Database           |  +--------------------+  | information_schema |  | mysql              |  | performance_schema |  +--------------------+  3 rows in set (0.25 sec)    mysql> \s  --------------  mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.6.48-88.0, for Linux (x86_64) using  6.2    Connection id: 32  Current database:  Current user: DB00002448@10.100.0.162  SSL: Cipher in use is ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256  Current pager: stdout  Using outfile: ''  Using delimiter: ;  Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server  Protocol version: 10  Connection: sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net via TCP/IP  Server characterset: utf8mb4  Db     characterset: utf8mb4  Client characterset: utf8  Conn.  characterset: utf8  TCP port: 5001  Uptime: 10 min 17 sec    Threads: 12  Questions: 2108  Slow queries: 715  Opens: 26  Flush tables: 1  Open tables: 20  Queries per second avg: 3.416  --------------

and offers you the following actions you can do with it,

[vagrant@ansnode1 ~]$ mysql --host sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net --port 5001 --user DB00002448 -p --ssl-ca ~/skysql_chain.pem  Enter password:  Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.  Your MySQL connection id is 32  Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server    Copyright (c) 2009-2020 Percona LLC and/or its affiliates  Copyright (c) 2000, 2020, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.    Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its  affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective  owners.    Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.    mysql> select @@hostname;  +-------------------+  | @@hostname        |  +-------------------+  | paultest-mdb-ms-0 |  +-------------------+  1 row in set (0.25 sec)    mysql> show schemas;  +--------------------+  | Database           |  +--------------------+  | information_schema |  | mysql              |  | performance_schema |  +--------------------+  3 rows in set (0.25 sec)    mysql> \s  --------------  mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.6.48-88.0, for Linux (x86_64) using  6.2    Connection id: 32  Current database:  Current user: DB00002448@10.100.0.162  SSL: Cipher in use is ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256  Current pager: stdout  Using outfile: ''  Using delimiter: ;  Server version: 5.5.5-10.4.12-6-MariaDB-enterprise-log MariaDB Enterprise Server  Protocol version: 10  Connection: sky0001841.mdb0001721.db.skysql.net via TCP/IP  Server characterset: utf8mb4  Db     characterset: utf8mb4  Client characterset: utf8  Conn.  characterset: utf8  TCP port: 5001  Uptime: 10 min 17 sec    Threads: 12  Questions: 2108  Slow queries: 715  Opens: 26  Flush tables: 1  Open tables: 20  Queries per second avg: 3.416  --------------

Previous versions of your configuration are still viewable which adds more convenient when managing your database and configuration changes management.

Workload Analysis and Monitoring

As of this writing, both of these features which are Workload Analysis and Monitoring are currently on Tech Preview. However, the Workload Analysis is not yet ready for use but Monitoring already shows the data collected from your database instances. An example of this is shown below,

MariaDB SkySQL Monitoring

It actually uses Grafana for displaying the metrics and graphs. It offers other views to look upon which you can investigate the health of your database, queries, lags, and system. See below,

MariaDB SkySQL Monitoring

You can check for a Workload Analysis here to feel how it works.

Conclusion

While the MariaDB SkySQL is an entirely new service, you can expect improvements with this service to be coming quick. This is a great move from MariaDB, as users aren't just limited to its community available platforms, but can now use the enterprise level at a reasonable price

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