What is MariaDB Enterprise and How to Manage it with ClusterControl?

Krzysztof Ksiazek

Have you ever wondered what products MariaDB Enterprise has to offer? Is it different from MariaDB Community? Can I manage them with ClusterControl?

MariaDB provides two distributions of their software — Enterprise and Community. The Community consists of the MariaDB Server, which has Galera embedded; you can use either standard, asynchronous or semi-synchronous replication or, as an alternative, build a MariaDB Cluster based on Galera. Another addition to the Community distribution is MariaDB ColumnStore. MariaDB 10.6 Community comes with ColumnStore 5.5. MariaDB ColumnStore is a columnar analytics database that allows users to create fast reporting queries through a reporting-optimized way of storing the data. Finally, it is also possible to use MaxScale, a proxy developed by MariaDB, for free as long as you use up to two database nodes. This limit, however, means it’s not feasible for any production deployment and might be used as a never-ending trial.

This post will explore products included with MariaDB Enterprise and how it works with ClusterControl.

What Products does the MariaDB Enterprise Platform Include?

MariaDB Enterprise Server

Let’s take a look at the Enterprise offering from MariaDB. MariaDB 10.6 is the enhanced version of the Community version. It comes with features such as an improved MariaDB Enterprise Audit plugin that adds additional options to control the audited events. MariaDB Enterprise Backup is an improved version of MariaBackup, which reduces the optimized lock handling, effectively decreasing the blocking of writers if a backup is running. MariaDB Enterprise Cluster adds additional data-at-rest encryption for Galera, non-blocking DDLs for Galera, and a few other small features.

MariaDB Enterprise ColumnStore

A further difference is in other parts of the package. First, ColumnStore is available in the most recent version — 5.6 or 6.2. MariaDB Enterprise ColumnStore 6, as per MariaDB documentation, comes with new features like disk-based aggregation, which allows you to trade the performance of the aggregation operations for larger data sets that can be aggregated. So far, all data had to fit in memory. Now, it is possible to use disk for aggregation. Another improvement is introducing an LZ4 compression in addition to the already existing Snappy compression. The precision of the DECIMAL data type has also been increased from 18 to 38, and it’s now possible to update transactional data from ColumnStore data. We can execute updates on the InnoDB table that uses data from the ColumnStore table. In the past, only the other way around (updating ColumnStore based on InnoDB data) was supported.

Finally, another significant change between Enterprise and Community ColumnStore offerings is that MariaDB Enterprise ColumnStore comes with an option to deploy multi-node setups, allowing for better scalability and high availability.

MariaDB Xpand

MariaDB Xpand (previously Clustrix) is a database that, while still providing drop-in compatibility with MySQL, allows users to scale out by adding additional nodes to the cluster. MariaDB Xpand is ACID-compliant and provides fault tolerance, high availability, and scalability. On top of that, other features listed on the MariaDB website are parallel query evaluation and execution, columnar indexes, and automated data partitioning.

MaxScale

As we mentioned earlier, MaxScale, even though it is available to download for free, comes with a license that limits its free use to only two backend nodes, making it unusable for most production environments. In the Enterprise offering, MaxScale does not have such limitations, making it a feasible solution for building deployments based on different elements of MariaDB Enterprise. MaxScale supports all of the software included in the MariaDB Enterprise and acts as a core building block for any of the supported topologies. MaxScale can monitor the underlying databases, route the traffic among them, and perform automated actions like failovers should the need arise. This makes it a great solution for controlling the database traffic and dealing with potential issues. Much older versions of MaxScale have been released for the public, but, realistically speaking, the recent version is what’s most interesting feature-wise, thus making MariaDB Enterprise one of the ways to use MaxScale.

How does MariaDB Enterprise work with ClusterControl?

ClusterControl itself does not provide access to MariaDB Enterprise repositories, nor does it allow users to get the MariaDB licenses. However, it can very easily be configured to work with MariaDB Enterprise. As usual, ClusterControl requires SSH connectivity to be in place:

Then we have another step where we can pick the MariaDB version and pass the password for the superuser in MySQL.

ClusterControl, by default, is configured to set up community repositories for MariaDB, but it is possible to pick an option to “Do Not Setup Vendor Repositories”. It is up to the user to configure repositories to use MariaDB Enterprise packages, but once this is done, ClusterControl can be told just to install the packages and not care where they come from. This is an excellent way of installing custom, non-community packages. Just make sure that you picked the correct version of the MariaDB that you have configured the Enterprise repositories for.

Alternatively, especially if you already have MariaDB Enterprise deployed in your environment, you can import those nodes into ClusterControl, given that the SSH connectivity is in place:

This allows ClusterControl to work with existing deployments of MariaDB Enterprise.

Such deployment of MariaDB, no matter if imported or deployed, is fully supported by ClusterControl, both asynchronous replication, and MariaDB Galera Cluster. Should your cluster switch to a non-primary state, backup schedules can be created and executed, failover will happen, replicas will be promoted as necessary, MariaDB cluster nodes will restart, and the whole cluster will be bootstrapped.

As for other elements of the MariaDB Enterprise, ClusterControl supports MaxScale load balancer. The same pattern we explained for the MariaDB database can also be applied here. If you deployed the cluster using existing repositories, MaxScale would be installed as long as it can be downloaded from one of the configured repositories.

Alternatively, it is possible to import the existing MaxScale instance:

This, again, allows you to import your existing environment into ClusterControl.

When imported, ClusterControl provides an interface for MaxScale’s command-line interface:

You can execute different commands directly from the graphical interface of ClusterControl.

As you can see, no matter if you are using MariaDB Community or MariaDB Enterprise, ClusterControl can help you to manage the database and MaxScale load balancer. 

Wrapping Up

Many elect to use MariaDB Enterprise for its advanced features to achieve ACID compliance, high availability, load balancing, security, scalability, and improved backups. Whether you’re using MariaDB Community or MariaDB Enterprise, ClusterControl can help you manage the database and the MaxScale load balancer. If you want to see it all in the works, you can evaluate ClusterControl free for 30 days.

If you go the route of MariaDB Enterprise and want to take advantage of load balancing, check out how to install and configure MaxScale, both manually and with the help of ClusterControl.

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