While MySQL and MariaDB have roots in Finland, I trust that most of you are not paying too much attention to the news coming from Finland, naturally unless it is our young lady Prime Minister dancing…
Helsingin Sanomat (HS.fi), the largest daily newspaper in Finland, had recently pretty provocative news about MariaDB: "Suomalainen ohjelmistoyritys MariaDB meni New Yorkin pörssiin – Seurauksena oli täyskatastrofi ja nyt yhtiön rahat ovat lopussa".
A rough translation is that “Finnish software company MariaDB listed in New York Stock Exchange — Resulting in grand catastrophe and running out of money.”
I do not have close information of the MariaDB’s finances (I am aware that MariaDB is losing $50M a year — about $50M revenue combined with annual $100M expense run rate, and the fact that investors seemed to have pulled out $266M, out of $269M of the proceeds that were expected from the listing, leaving just $2.6M additional funding).
The fact that MariaDB share price collapsed from the peak $14.5 during the past 12 months, and from the recent $11 level to $3 is also pretty indicative.
While we naturally have to separate MariaDB the Community and MariaDB the Company, this left me wondering about the state of the commercial open source companies in general.
I trust that the MariaDB Community is likely to be intact even if the MariaDB business around it fails. Unfortunately, over the years, I have seen a number of venture backed MySQL related businesses to fail. But I sincerely hope that MariaDB will not only to survive, but flourish. As a whole, we naturally want the MySQL ecosystem to grow as much as possible.
After running Continuent (a successful and profitable commercial entity offering MySQL HA/DR/Geo-Scale solutions) for almost 20 years, I know first hand how hard it is to build a sustainable and successful business around open source, open source databases and MySQL specifically.
Selling value-add for a ‘free’ solution can be hard. But when you have a real value-add — in our case the best MySQL clustering solution especially for the geographically distributed applications, but also for HA/DR needs — backed with an excellent 24/7 support, that can be made to work. Our customers have collectively trusted some $20 billion revenue streams on our MySQL business-critical solutions.
Continuent will continue to evolve its solutions, both in small ways for the existing Tungsten v7 product line, and in big ways with Kubernetes, both allowing us to retain existing customers and generate new ones with our new, more flexible Operator product.