Drumee has been getting a lot of attention in France as a new cloud platform. We recently interviewed their President and Founder, Somanos Sar, to learn more about the company and why they choose MariaDB Enterprise Server as the database to power their cloud.
Can you tell us more about what you’re doing?
In a few words, if you put Dropbox, Zoom, Wetransfer along with the security needed to combat ransomware in one box, you get Drumee. But Drumee is more than this. It has the potential to be quickly extended with many web applications such as Wix, Google Docs, and YouTube.
Technically, Drumee was inspired by Linux. And now, it can be considered as the first Web Operating System. You can take its core components as they are with the file system, rendering engine, and access control, and extend your own application on the top of that basement.
What are your business goals?
Start small, think big. Currently, Drumee is already big, but it is still small compared to what we can do with it. Our core business is digital sovereignty. This is not another concept of washing or a hollow word. Drumee doesn’t rely on external technology or infrastructure.
Why is it so important, while it is so easy to rely on everything that exists on the Internet? It’s only common sense not to do a business on something you can’t control. Suppose that all of your business relies on Google, AWS, or Azure. And for any reason, the US government says, “Ok, now, you no longer can use those services”. It can’t happen! Really? It did for Huawei. It can happen to anyone as long as the future is still unwritten. So, Drumee wants you to have total control of your data. We have total control of our software and infrastructure.
When choosing a database to power your cloud platform, why was an open source database so important to you?
The response is still digital sovereignty. Doing business on something you can’t control is not a very good idea. Beyond geopolitics uncertainties, there is also technological uncertainty. In my career, I have faced some situations where the choice of a private source led to a failure, because the editors of that source shut down, leaving their customers with a software that can no longer be updated.
It sounds like the majority of your experience was previously with PostgreSQL. What was it about PostgreSQL that didn’t make it a good fit for the application you were building?
Drumee is inspired by Linux. It considers everything as a resource. Drumee’s world is shared in two things: resources and resources users. Each time a user wants to use a resource, the Drumee access control always applies the same rule: who you are and what you want? The response is always simple: access granted or denied. This rule relies on the databases layer.
Meaning that when you have millions of users accessing billions of files, your access control must keep running smoothly. It can only run smoothly if your data structure is properly designed. Then your database must give the best performance. This rationale led me to a “unit sharding”, i.e each user affects a specific database (schema for PostgreSQL). In the same way, each resources container (virtual host) has its own database. This means that the number of schemas is going to grow very high. It seemed to me that MariaDB would do it better on that specific point.
How did you learn about MariaDB?
In the beginning, I was looking for MySQL. With MySQL going under Oracle’s hand, I was unsure it was the right way. Always keep control of what you do. Then I saw there were forks, mainly Percona and MariaDB. Beyond the technical aspects, there was support, customer relation, and obviously, the price that helped me decide to go with MariaDB.
What sets MariaDB apart from other databases like PostgreSQL that made you choose us?
The first thing I would mention is people. At the time, Drumee was only a project, no more than a few lines of code. But the MariaDB team was very kind and they helped me to build Drumee. The second point is documentation. MariaDB documentation gave me more visibility on what I can expect and more confidence in the product.
With MariaDB as the database powering Drumee, what kind of volume of workload are you able to support?
We expect to handle several thousand of queries per second, and several hundred MB of throughputs.
Can you imagine life without MariaDB? What would that look like? How has MariaDB helped Drumee?
If MariaDB didn’t exist, I would have gone for PostgreSQL. I had some fundamental decisions to make on Drumee data architecture. MariaDB helped validate that decision. Without that decision, it would be difficult to build Drumee as we can see it today.
What’s next for Drumee with MariaDB?
If our business goes as expected, we can consider migrating InnoDB toward MariaDB Xpand for even better scalability.