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Alibaba invests $27 million in Cloud Database Startup MariaDB

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has invested $27 million in MariaDB,  an open source database server company. The e-commerce giant has agreed to lead a funding round of $27 million towards MariaDB, which is a community-developed fork of the MySQL RDBMS which will remain free under the GNU GPL license. The MariaDB foundation based out of Europe manages this most popular open source database server.

Alibaba entered into cloud computing business during 2009 and is a strong competitor of the Amazon AWS.   The Chinese eCommerce Giant is focused towards expanding it’s Cloud offerings and it has already invested $1 billion towards its Cloud computing business Unit Aliyun which is now called as Alibaba Cloud.


Feng Yu, who is currently a principal engineer at the Alibaba’s Cloud business Unit will join the board of MariaDB as a part of this deal.  MariaDB’s market value is expected to be around $354 million after this funding round. The open source database company received a €25 million funding in May from the European Investment bank when it was valued at $200 million.

MariaDB Corporation Ab (formerly SkySQL) is the organization which manages the enterprise-grade open source database solutions for MySQL and MariaDB users. The development of MariaDB is led by some of the original developers of the MySQL database and is now backed by a open-source community of developers who are required to share their copyrights with the MariaDB foundation. MariaDB was forked from MySQL by the developers because of their concerns over the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle Corporation. It is considered as the best alternative for MySQL  and also maintains high compatibility with MySQL by using the same libraries and compatible APIs.


Alibaba’s cloud computing business  has been growing very rapidly and they have constantly reported triple-digit revenue growth in last year.  Alibaba is trying hard to compete with other bigger rivals like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon AWS. Their Cloud computing business unit generated an annual revenue of $1 billion last fiscal year and have secured more than 1 million customers in last quarter alone. Though it still accounts for less than 5% of total revenue of Alibaba, they are still a growing unit and will expand further.

Alibaba is trying to add new sources of revenues to reduce its dependencies on the Chinese commerce, and cloud is one its key focus areas. They have made a lot of big investments recently including PayTM in India, Tokopedia and Lazada in South East Asia. They also invested recently in Qiniu, a cloud storage providesr and Dt Dream, a big data company. As part of their focus towards expanding their Cloud offerings, they have decided to make this investment towards the Cloud database provider MariaDB.

Neither the members of  MariaDB  nor Alibaba were available for comments regarding this deal.




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