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The godfather of the open source MySQL database Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius and CTO at MariaDB says customers no longer have to be “at the mercy” of vendors like Oracle following the announcement of its ColumnStore big data analytics engine.

“Looking at what we did with MySQL, originally we made databases available to the masses,” Widenius told ComputerworldUK.

“Now we are doing the same thing for analytics and hope to see a big expansion of the tools and users that couldn’t afford it before.”

ColumnStore is an analytics engine which allows for faster querying of data as it goes column by column instead of the traditional row by row, allowing for the platform to crunch more data across complex queries than before.

The solution is fully SQL compliant, meaning there is no need for retraining of staff to use the tool. This reduces complexity and gives users more processing power for less, according to MariaDB.

According to today’s press release ColumnStore is “the industry’s first to enable transactional and massively parallelised analytic workloads under the same roof.” 

Widenius says that he hopes other analytics tools and vendors will work with MariaDB to open up its analytics capabilities to a wider audience, such as data visualisation tool Tableau or served analytics solutions like Splunk and Qlik.

MariaDB has had the capability to run complex data analytics for years already but, according to Widenius, the company hasn’t had “someone with the foresight within the company on how to sell it and which market to go to” until new CEO Michael Howard joined.

Read next: SQL Server move to Linux a 'sad reflection of where Microsoft is', says MariaDB CEO Michael Howard

Attack on Oracle

As with its core database offering, MariaDB is hoping its open source credentials, and free pricing, can tempt people away from proprietary software vendors like Oracle.

“Companies who have had to use Oracle because there were no good alternatives now have a reason to look at something much more affordable," says Widenius.

“Normally when you use the software and your company evolves, you notice that the software doesn’t satisfy your future needs. With closed [source] you have to pay the vendor and hope they add the features you crucially need, you have no choice.”

The benefit of going open source, according to one of its biggest proponents in Widenius, is that you are no longer “at the mercy of the decisions of one vendor,” and that “with open source you have many sources for support and development”.

“We believe our engineering team and community have built a new generation database platform for the modern data-driven business,” he says.

MariaDB ColumnStore will be available to beta test in May of 2016.

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