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 TimescaleDB so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how MariaDB and TimescaleDB 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 TimescaleDB Breakdown
Time Series Database
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.
TimescaleDB is built on top of PostgreSQL and inherits its architecture. It extends PostgreSQL with time-series-specific optimizations and functions, allowing it to manage time series data efficiently. It can be deployed as a single node, in a multi-node setup, or in the cloud as a managed service.
Timescale License (for TimescaleDB Community Edition); Apache 2.0 (for core PostgreSQL)
Web applications, transaction processing, e-commerce
Monitoring, observability, IoT, real-time analytics, financial market data
Supports replication and sharding for horizontal scaling, as well as query optimization and caching for improved performance
Horizontally scalable through native support for partitioning, replication, and sharding. Offers multi-node capabilities for distributing data and queries across nodes.
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.
TimescaleDB is an open source time series database built on top of PostgreSQL. It was created to address the challenges of managing time series data, such as scalability, query performance, and data retention policies. TimescaleDB was first released in 2017 and has since become a popular choice for storing and analyzing time series data due to its PostgreSQL compatibility, performance optimizations, and flexible data retention policies.
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.
TimescaleDB for Time Series Data
TimescaleDB is specifically designed for time series data, making it a natural choice for storing and querying such data. It provides several advantages for time series data management like horizontal scalability, columnar storage, and retention policy support. However, TimescaleDB may not be the best choice for all time series use cases. One example would be if an application requires very high write throughput or real-time analytics, other specialized time series databases like InfluxDB may be more suitable.
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.
TimescaleDB Key Concepts
- Hypertable: A hypertable is a distributed table that is partitioned by time and possibly other dimensions, such as device ID or location. It is the primary abstraction for storing time series data in TimescaleDB and is designed to scale horizontally across multiple nodes.
- Chunk: A chunk is a partition of a hypertable, containing a subset of the hypertable’s data. Chunks are created automatically by TimescaleDB based on a specified time interval and can be individually compressed, indexed, and backed up for better performance and data management.
- Distributed Hypertables: For large-scale deployments, TimescaleDB supports distributed hypertables, which partition data across multiple nodes for improved query performance and fault tolerance.
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.
TimescaleDB is an extension built on PostgreSQL, inheriting its relational data model and SQL support. However, TimescaleDB extends PostgreSQL with custom data structures and optimizations for time series data, such as hypertables and chunks.
Free Time-Series Database Guide
Get a comprehensive review of alternatives and critical requirements for selecting yours.
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.
TimescaleDB automatically partitions time series data tables using hypertables and chunks, which simplifies data management and improves query performance.
Time series focused SQL functions
TimescaleDB provides several specialized SQL functions and operators for time series data application scenarios, such as time_bucket, first, and last, which simplify querying and aggregating time series data.
As mentioned earlier, TimescaleDB extends PostgreSQL’s query planner for writing and querying time series data, including optimizations like time-based indexing and chunk pruning.
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.
TimescaleDB Use Cases
Monitoring and metrics
TimescaleDB is well-suited for storing and analyzing monitoring and metrics data, such as server performance metrics, application logs, and sensor data. Its hypertable structure and query optimizations make it easy to store, query, and visualize large volumes of time series data.
IoT data storage
TimescaleDB can be used to store and analyze IoT data, such as sensor readings and device status information. Its support for automatic partitioning and specialized SQL interfaces simplifies the management and querying of large-scale IoT datasets.
TimescaleDB is suitable for storing and analyzing financial data, such as stock prices, exchange rates, and trading volumes. Its query optimizations and specialized SQL functions make it easy to perform time-based aggregations and analyze trends in financial data.
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.
TimescaleDB Pricing Model
TimescaleDB is available in two editions: TimescaleDB Open Source and TimescaleDB Cloud. The open-source edition is free to use and can be self-hosted, while the cloud edition is a managed service with a pay-as-you-go pricing model based on storage, compute, and data transfer usage. TimescaleDB Cloud offers various pricing tiers with different levels of resources and features, such as continuous backups and high availability.
Get started with InfluxDB for free
InfluxDB Cloud is the fastest way to start storing and analyzing your time series data.