Understanding MariaDB: A Comprehensive Guide 101

on Database Management Systems, MariaDB, Tutorials • October 27th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

MariaDB - Featured Image

MariaDB is a popular Relational Database Management System (RDMS) with a close resemblance to MySQL. It is a common Database management system among individuals and companies. This is attributed to its ease of setup and use. The fact that it is an SQL Database management system means that it is easy to store, modify, and retrieve data from it.

It can be used to perform both small and enterprise-level data processing tasks. Before starting to use this database, it is important to know more about it. This will facilitate a smooth flow when using MariaDB for data storage and processing. In this article, we will be discussing MariaDB in depth. 

Table of Contents

Prerequisites

This is what you need for following the tutorial in this article:

  • MariaDB

Understanding MariaDB

MariaDB Logo
Image Source

MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, and that is why the two share many similarities. It was created by the original MySQL developers. Its DBMS comes with data processing capabilities for small and enterprise tasks. You can think of MariaDB as an improved MySQL version. It is shipped with many powerful inbuilt features and usabilities, performance, and security improvements that are not available in MySQL. 

MariaDB is fully GPL licensed and it has been made available to everyone. It is now in the top 10 list of the most widely used Database management systems worldwide. Some of the top companies using this database include Wikipedia, Google, Tumblr, Ubuntu, Amazon Web Services, RedHat, and others. You can use it on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It is safe, easy to master, and convenient, and this can be attributed to its growing popularity. 

Understanding the Key Features of MariaDB

MariaDB uses the client/server architecture with the main Database and many clients that request and manipulate the data. Clients use SQL statements to interact with the server and to retrieve data and present the results of manipulations on the client-side. It uses similar security measures as MySQL. 

Let us discuss the key features provided by MariaDB:

1) SQL Compatibility

MariaDB supports the majority of SQL statements, procedures, variables, definitions, functions, etc. There are many client programs for it like mysqldump and mysqladmin. It also has many plugins, for example, the audit plugin. 

2) Parallel Query Execution

The latest versions of MariaDB from version 10.0 come with this feature. You can execute several queries simultaneously. This makes it faster to perform tasks in it. MySQL does not have this feature. 

3) Thread Pooling

This feature accelerates work on MariaDB in relation to many connections to the Database. Instead of having to open a separate thread for every connection, it provides a pool of open threads. A new connection only needs to take a threat and then send a query. This makes queries to run faster and return quicker results. MySQL offers the same feature in its enterprise edition. 

4) Database Views

Views are good performance optimization features. MariaDB differs from MySQL when it comes to involving virtual tables during the querying of a view. In MariaDB, only the dedicated table is involved. MySQL involves all the tables connected to the view, regardless of whether the query targets them or not. 

5) Virtual Columns

The support for virtual columns is one of the prominent features of MariaDB. Such columns can be used to perform calculations at the Database level. When more than one app accesses one column, users don’t have to write calculations in each app separately. The Database does it on their behalf. 

6) Columnstore

Columnar distributed storage in MariaDB
Image Source: MariaDB

The columnstore feature improves the overall performance of MariaDB. A distributed Database architecture gives it the ability to scale linearly. This makes it possible to store huge volumes of data across different servers in a cluster. The above image gives an insight into how data is stored in a columnar and distributed format in MariaDB. It also facilitates Distributed Query Processing.

To learn more about MariaDB, visit here.

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Steps to Create a New Database

If you need to store your data in MariaDB, you must first create a Database structure. However, you must have special privileges that are only granted to the admin or the root user. 

To create a Database, you should use the CREATE Database command. The command should be followed by the name of the Database that is to be created( the command shown below should use a name for your Database in place of DatabaseName). This is shown below:

CREATE Database DatabaseName;

For example, to create a Database named myDatabase, we run the following command:

CREATE Database myDatabase;

To see the list of Databases created within MariaDB server, use the following command:

SHOW Databases;

The command runs as follows:

database creation output
Image Source: Self

The command shows that the Database named myDatabase was created successfully.  The above image shows how the successful creation of a database looks like.

Tables are created within your Database. Before creating a Database, you should first select the Database in which the table is to be created. You can then go ahead and create the table. 

To select a Database, use the USE command as shown below:

USE Database_name; 

Now that you have selected the Database that you want, you can create a table within it. Use the CREATE TABLE command for this with the following syntax:

CREATE TABLE tableName (fieldName fieldType);

For example, let us create a table named testtb with three fields- id, name, and email as integer, character, and character datatypes with the id column being the primary key:

CREATE TABLE testtb (
 
id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
name VARCHAR (20) NOT NULL,
email VARCHAR(40) NOT NULL,
PRIMARY KEY (id)
);

You can use the SHOW command to check whether the table was created successfully:

SHOW tables;
tables view output
Image Source: Self

The above figure shows that the table named testtb was created successfully. 

Understanding the Limitations of MariaDB

The following are the limitations associated while working with MariaDB:

  • It is relatively new, hence, there is no guarantee for new versions and updates. 
  • Companies are required to pay for professional support. 
  • Enterprises face a challenge whenever they need to pull data from MariaDB in real-time.

Conclusion

In this article, you have learned about MariaDB, how it closely resembles MySQL, and also how it is different from MySQL. You have also learned to create a database and tables in MariaDB with a help of a step-by-step guide. You have also learned about the limitations that accompany while working with it.

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