Comparison between Percona, MariaDB and MySQL

Tram Ho


Databases are present in most applications with lots of choices. MySQL has long been a popular open source option, but Percona and MariaDB are fork fork from MySQL that can be replaced with many advanced features. This article will compare all three database management systems to help you make the right choice.


MySQL is a very popular, widely known open source relational database management system (RDBMS). It was developed as a reliable, highly available database for web-based applications in the 1990s. Although open source, it is owned by Oracle, who provides it as a session. The free version is under the GPL (GNU General Public License) and is a commercially licensed version. The Oracle version of MySQL is a popular installation on many servers, part of LAMP and WAMP and is the default database for WordPress.

Its power lies in its longevity. Code base is stable and reliable for web applications. There is a large community of MySQL users and administrators, there is a large amount of documentation for MySQL, both on the web and in print.

Its weakness, compared to the other two databases, lies in its administration. Many in the open source community consider Oracle to be a force that blocks the open source nature of the original project. Also, due to the dual licensing model, some applications require a commercial license.

MySQL versus MariaDB / Percona

When MySQL was acquired by Sun and then Oracle, the remaining groups started fork forks from MySQL code. That brings us to MariaDB and Percona. Both are built to replace MySQL. Applications that work with MySQL also work well with either of these. Despite being competitors, each branch references each other’s open source code. For example: MariaDB provides the XtraDB engine from Percona. Percona has selected several thread pool optimizations and improvements from MariaDB. Both have been improved based on the MySQL base, including fixing subqueries.


The MariaDB fork is based on expanding the range of MySQL capabilities and is less conservative about adding new features than Percona. MariaDB has pushed forward with the query optimizer. It might be a better option if you can’t determine what kind of query your project needs often. Some other distinguishing features of MariaDB include:

  • MariaDB includes a larger array of storage tools than either MySQL base or Percona, including the NoQuery option with Cassandra. It also includes Percona’s XtraDB as an option.
  • Since version 10.1, MariaDB has provided on-disk database encryption.
  • MariaDB provides scalable features including smulti-source replication, allowing a single server to copy from multiple sources.
  • The compatibility of Global Transaction IDs between MariaDB and MySQL may require careful deployment if you plan on copying complex MySQL branches. For example, it is possible to copy from MySQL 5.6 to MariaDB 10.X, but not vice versa.

MariaDB is, in general, a mature future of MySQL aimed at providing new features and advances to the database. It is suitable for large multi-server cloud storage applications, especially applications that change query patterns that can take advantage of MariaDB’s optimizer.


Percona has focused on very demanding applications with their own high-performance alternative to InnoDB storage tool called XtraDB, including device tools to tune it. Their features tend to improve performance, availability and scalability for the largest databases with the highest throughput. On their website, Percona claims to be closer to the underlying MySQL code from a more conservative and compatible standpoint than MariaDB. Other features that benefit Percona include:

  • To drive performance, Percona provides more counters and diagnostics to measure performance and tune the database.
  • Percona has scalability improvements for large databases, including some of the features in their free Server product that are only available at the Enterprise level of MySQL.
  • Percona also has additional tools besides the DB engine including the XtraDB Cluster and the XtraBackup utility.

Like MariaDB, Percona is a mature open source branch of MySQL. Their focus is more on the performance of the largest and most demanding databases with the tools to achieve and maintain that performance.

So which is better?

Like most technology comparisons, the answer is up to your problem. The majority of the debate appears to be a two-stage debate rather than a three-way battle. The first phase is MySQL compared to one of its replacements. You have to decide if you even need a change. Advanced MySQL base branches with performance improvements and additional features and tools. Performance becomes a bigger deal as your database gets bigger, so small databases will be less likely to see many of those benefits in branches. But there may be other reasons for an alternative, such as licensing or data flexibility. If you decide to change, then the discussion goes to which option.

It would be too easy to consider even the above comparison and say that MariaDB doesn’t care about performance or optimizer in Percona as side. That is absolutely not true. Both branches excel at the basic database level. They are more distinguishable when you reach the threshold.

So what is more important? If it is capable of storing flexible data types on a number of different sources, first check MariaDB. If you have a larger database and still require flexible performance, start searching with Percona. However, do not ignore other branches. Some of their tools, because of the generic MySQL root, can work with either branch and may be just the solution you need.

If you are already using via MySQL and want to reach one of the other branches, but you don’t have the advantage of size or flexibility, then the decision seems to be one of preference.

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Source : Techtalk