Microsoft Azure Welcomes MariaDB Open-Source Database

Though eclipsed by the historic Red Hat deal, other major new developments affected Microsoft Azure cloud's database ecosystem this week.

Microsoft Azure Cloud

The Microsoft-Red Hat deal wasn't the only cloud-related development with an impact on Azure this week.

On Nov. 4, Microsoft made big waves when it announced a wide-ranging cloud partnership with Red Hat, an alliance between once-fierce rivals that would have seemed unimaginable just a few short years ago, given Microsoft's historic stance on open-source software. The move, said Red Hat Executive Vice President Paul Cormier during a live Nov. 4 Webcast, "will help customers embrace hybrid cloud computing by providing greater choice and flexibility."

Aligning with Microsoft's newfound love for Linux and other open-source technologies, the company announced the availability of MariaDB Enterprise Cluster open-source database in the Azure Marketplace.

"MariaDB is the database that powers billions of users on sites like and Wikipedia," noted Paige Liu, a Microsoft Azure software engineer, in a Nov. 5 announcement. "It has more than two million users globally, and 500 customers in more than 45 countries subscribe to MariaDB Enterprise Server," she added. The software also is used by HP, Deutsche Telekom and Virgin Mobile.

Microsoft has been busy forging a coalition of open-source allies. "This offering is made available by our partnership with MariaDB Corporation, a leader in open-source database solutions for SaaS, cloud and on-premises applications that require high availability, scalability and performance," Liu noted.

"With partnerships such as the one we are announcing today, we continue our journey to provide first-class experiences for open-source practitioners in a hyper-scale, hybrid cloud platform," she continued. "If you are looking to accelerate time-to-market for your open-source-based data solutions and applications or to start exploring cloud-native open-source solutions, check out our trial and get started for free," she encouraged.

In other Azure database happenings, this week Microsoft also announced launched previews of In-Memory OLTP (online transaction processing) and Real-Time Operational Analytics for Azure SQL Database.

In-memory OLTP support enables organizations to exploit large amounts of fast server memory, instead of comparatively slower storage components and systems, to speed up their database workloads. "Bringing this technology to the cloud means customers will be able to take advantage of in-memory OLTP in a fully managed database-as-a-service with 99.99 percent SLA. SQL Database also has built-in advisors to help customers get started quickly with in-memory OLTP to optimize performance," wrote Jos de Bruijn, senior program manager for Microsoft Azure SQL Database, in a Nov. 4 blog post.

Meanwhile, customers can pair the new capability with Real-Time Operational Analytics, enabling them "to use our in-memory columnstore on your disk-based operational data for real-time insights and 100x performance gains," said de Bruijn. "Now you can use our in-memory columnstore in conjunction with in-memory OLTP for breakthrough transactional and analytics performance in the same database."

Microsoft also has officially launched a security-enhancing feature for Azure SQL Database called Dynamic Data Masking.

"Dynamic Data Masking can be used to hide sensitive data in your applications, while the logic of which fields to mask and how to mask is centralized in the database itself," Ronit Reger, senior program manager of Microsoft SQL Data Security, explained in a Nov. 3 announcement. "It can also be used to avoid exposure of the data to engineers or ITOps [IT operations] personnel that connect to the production database for maintenance or troubleshooting purposes."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...