Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of MariaDB and PostgreSQL so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how MariaDB and PostgreSQL perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
MariaDB vs PostgreSQL Breakdown
MariaDB can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid solution, and is compatible with various operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS.
PostgreSQL can be deployed on various platforms, such as on-premises, in virtual machines, or as a managed cloud service like Amazon RDS, Google Cloud SQL, or Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
PostgreSQL license (similar to MIT or BSD)
Web applications, transaction processing, e-commerce
Web applications, geospatial data, business intelligence, analytics, content management systems, financial applications, scientific applications
Supports replication and sharding for horizontal scaling, as well as query optimization and caching for improved performance
Supports vertical scaling, horizontal scaling through partitioning, sharding, and replication using available tools
MariaDB is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that was created as a fork of MySQL in 2009 by the original developers of MySQL, led by Michael Widenius. The primary goal of MariaDB was to provide an open-source and community-driven alternative to MySQL, which was acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2008. MariaDB is compatible with MySQL and has enhanced features, better performance, and improved security. It is widely used by organizations worldwide and is supported by the MariaDB Foundation, which ensures its continued open-source development.
PostgreSQL, also known as Postgres, is an open-source relational database management system that was first released in 1996. It has a long history of being a robust, reliable, and feature-rich database system, widely used in various industries and applications. PostgreSQL is known for its adherence to the SQL standard and extensibility, which allows users to define their own data types, operators, and functions. It is developed and maintained by a dedicated community of contributors and is available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
MariaDB for Time Series Data
While MariaDB is not specifically designed for time series data, it can be used to store, process, and analyze time series data due to its flexible and extensible architecture. SQL support, along with analytics optimized storage engines like ColumnStore make it suitable for handling time series data at smaller levels of data volume.
PostgreSQL for Time Series Data
PostgreSQL can be used for time series data storage and analysis, although it was not specifically designed for this use case. With its rich set of data types, indexing options, and window function support, PostgreSQL can handle time series data. However, Postgres will not be as optimized for time series data as specialized time series databases when it comes to things like data compression, write throughput, and query speed. PostgreSQL also lacks a number of features that are useful for working with time series data like downsampling, retention policies, and custom SQL functions for time series data analysis.
MariaDB Key Concepts
- Storage Engines: MariaDB supports multiple storage engines, each optimized for specific types of workloads or data storage requirements. Examples include InnoDB, MyISAM, Aria, and ColumnStore.
- Galera Cluster: A synchronous, multi-master replication solution for MariaDB that allows for high availability, fault tolerance, and load balancing.
- MaxScale: A database proxy for MariaDB that provides advanced features such as query routing, load balancing, and security.
- Connectors: MariaDB provides a variety of connectors to allow applications to interact with the database using various programming languages and APIs.
PostgreSQL Key Concepts
- MVCC: Multi-Version Concurrency Control is a technique used by PostgreSQL to allow multiple transactions to be executed concurrently without conflicts or locking.
- WAL: Write-Ahead Logging is a method used to ensure data durability by logging changes to a journal before they are written to the main data files.
- TOAST: The Oversized-Attribute Storage Technique is a mechanism for storing large data values in a separate table to reduce the main table’s disk space consumption.
MariaDB is a relational database that uses the SQL language for querying and data manipulation. Its architecture is based on a client-server model, with clients interacting with the server through various connectors and APIs. MariaDB supports multiple storage engines, allowing users to choose the most suitable engine for their specific use case. The database also offers replication and clustering options for high availability and load balancing.
PostgreSQL is a client-server relational database system that uses the SQL language for querying and manipulation. It employs a process-based architecture, with each connection to the database being handled by a separate server process. This architecture provides isolation between different users and sessions. PostgreSQL supports ACID transactions and uses a combination of MVCC, WAL, and other techniques to ensure data consistency, durability, and performance. It also supports various extensions and external modules to enhance its functionality.
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MariaDB is fully compatible with MySQL, making it easy to migrate existing MySQL applications and databases.
MariaDB supports multiple storage engines, allowing users to choose the best option for their specific use case.
Replication and Clustering
MariaDB offers built-in replication and supports Galera Cluster for high availability, fault tolerance, and load balancing. Security: MariaDB provides advanced security features such as data encryption, secure connections, and role-based access control.
PostgreSQL allows users to define custom data types, operators, and functions, making it highly adaptable to specific application requirements.
PostgreSQL has built-in support for full-text search, enabling users to perform complex text-based queries and analyses.
With the PostGIS extension, PostgreSQL can store and manipulate geospatial data, making it suitable for GIS applications.
MariaDB Use Cases
MariaDB is a popular choice for web applications due to its compatibility with MySQL, performance improvements, and open-source nature.
Organizations looking to migrate from MySQL to an open-source alternative can easily transition to MariaDB, thanks to its compatibility and enhanced features.
As a relational database MariaDB is a good fit for any application that requires strong transactional guarantees.
PostgreSQL Use Cases
PostgreSQL is a popular choice for large-scale enterprise applications due to its reliability, performance, and feature set.
With the PostGIS extension, PostgreSQL can be used for storing and analyzing geospatial data in applications like mapping, routing, and geocoding.
As a relational database, PostgreSQL is a good fit for pretty much any application that involves transactional workloads.
MariaDB Pricing Model
MariaDB is an open-source database, which means it is free to download, use, and modify. However, for organizations that require professional support, the MariaDB Corporation offers various subscription plans, including MariaDB SkySQL, a fully managed cloud database service. Pricing for support subscriptions and the SkySQL service depends on the chosen plan, service level, and resource usage.
PostgreSQL Pricing Model
PostgreSQL is open source software, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. However, costs can arise from hardware, hosting, and operational expenses when deploying a self-managed PostgreSQL server. Several cloud-based managed PostgreSQL services, such as Amazon RDS, Google Cloud SQL, and Azure Database for PostgreSQL, offer different pricing models based on factors like storage, computing resources, and support.
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