MariaDB vs MySQL for the LAMP Stack
If you’ve been active developing software within the LAMP stack, you know about MariaDB. MariaDB was forked off MySQL in 2009 by the original MySQL developers and out of distrust in the Oracle stewardship.
MariaDB strives to be the first choice of database for open source web developers. And those that are looking for a robust, scalable and reliable SQL Server.
A couple of years ago, Linux geeks and Free Open Source Software supporters already started to advocate the benefits of using MariaDB vs MySQL. I won’t go into further detail regarding this here, but it’s clear that MariaDB has plenty of advantages compared to MySQL.
You can read up on this online and e.g check out the 10 reasons to migrate to MariaDB (if still using MySQL) and learn more about the benefits of MariaDB.
MariaDB Replaces MySQL as LAMP Default in Debian 9 “Stretch”
While the benefits of MariaDB where certainly on my radar for some time, it still came as a little surprise to me that it has now replaced MySQL as the default database in Debian 9 “Stretch”. Realizing that MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL, it was still a surprise when it installed by default when I setup my usual LAMP stack surrounding on a fresh Debian 9 install.
Drop-In Replacement & Compatibility
It’s easy to imagine people panic when they do full Debian system upgrades with special setups of their MySQL database. Yes, MariaDB is called a drop-in replacement of MySQL. This means you can (mostly) install it on top of MySQL and migrate easily. But you also have several documented differences and incompatibilities between versions of MySQL and MariaDB. So it is certainly thinkable to customized settings or tables might be effected during a migration.
Some tools for interacting with MySQL are not fully compatible with MariaDB:
This includes e.g the XtraDB storage engine for replacing InnoDB. Starting from MariaDB 10.2, InnoDB engine is the default again, and not XtraDB and this could cause some potentially messy situation.
All in all it’s certainly a good move. Because the benefits and advantages of MariaDB vs MySQL outweigh most migration issues.
However it would have been good to get more detailed notifications about this prior to install. Because the new Debian LAMP stack default could very well lead to issues, especially for servers doing automatic system upgrades.
Another great advantage: With MariaDB we get to keep that LAMP name! 🙂