MariaDB starting with 10.1.3

Encryption of tables and tablespaces was added in MariaDB 10.1.3. There were substantial changes made in MariaDB 10.1.4, and the description below applies only to MariaDB 10.1.4 and later

Overview

Having tables encrypted makes it almost impossible for someone to access or steal a hard disk and get access to the original data. This assumes that encryption keys are stored on another system.

Using encryption has an overhead of roughly 3-5%.

Which storage engines does MariaDB encryption support?

MariaDB encryption is fully supported for the XtraDB and InnoDB storage engines. Additionally, encryption is supported for the Aria storage engine, but only for tables created with ROW_FORMAT=PAGE (the default).

MariaDB allows the user to configure flexibly what to encrypt. In XtraDB or InnoDB, one can choose to encrypt:

  • everything — all tablespaces (with all tables)
  • individual tables
  • everything, excluding individual tables

Additionally, one can choose to encrypt XtraDB/InnoDB log files (recommended).

Limitations

These limitations exist in the data-at-rest encryption implementation in MariaDB 10.1:

  • Only data and only at rest is encrypted. Metadata (for example .frm files) and data sent to the client are not encrypted (but see Secure Connections).
  • Only the MariaDB server knows how to decrypt the data, in particular
  • The disk-based Galera gcache is not encrypted (MDEV-9639).
  • The Audit plugin cannot create encrypted output. Send it to syslog and configure the protection there instead.
  • File-based general query log and slow query log cannot be encrypted (MDEV-9639).
  • The Aria log is not encrypted (MDEV-9639). This affects only non-temporary Aria tables though.
  • The MariaDB error log is not encrypted. The error log can contain query text and data in some cases, including crashes, assertion failures, and cases where InnoDB/XtraDB write monitor output to the log to aid in debugging. It can be sent to syslog too, if needed.

Encryption Key Management

MariaDB Encryption supports the use of multiple encryption keys. Each key uses a 32-bit integer as a key identifier and can be versioned, allowing you to automatically re-encrypt data from older to newer versions of the key.

In order to use data-at-rest encryption, you need to load a plugin to manage the encryption keys.

Once you have a key management plugin set up and configured for your server, you can begin using encryption options to better secure your data.

Encrypting Data

Encryption occurs whenever MariaDB writes pages to disk. The write is logged to the Redo Log and is written, just like any other modification to the page. Encrypting table data requires that you implement an encryption plugin, such as the File Key Management plugin. Once you have this plugin set up and configured, you can enable encryption on your InnoDB, XtraDB and Aria tables.

Encrypting Table Data

MariaDB supports data-at-rest encryption for InnoDB, XtraDB and Aria storage engines. Additionally, it support encrypting temporary tables for the MEMORY storage engine as well as various temporary files and binary logs.

Encryption of temporary files

MariaDB might create temporary files on disk. For example, temporary files are created for binary log transactional caches and for filesort. Since MariaDB 10.1.5, these temporary files can also be encrypted if encrypt_tmp_files is set. From MariaDB 10.1.27, MariaDB 10.2.9 and MariaDB 10.3.2, temporary files created by merge sort and row log are encrypted if innodb_encrypt_log is set to 1, regardless of whether the table encrypted or not, or whether encrypt_tmp_files is set or not.

Encryption of binary logs

Since 10.1.7, MariaDB can also encrypt binary logs (including relay logs). Binary logs are encrypted if --encrypt-binlog is specified on the command line or in the my.ini or my.cnf file.

Encryption and compression

Encryption and compression (a feature usable with FusionIO) can be used together. This works by first compressing the data and then encrypting it. In this case you save space and still have your data protected.

Thanks

  • Tablespace encryption was donated to the MariaDB project by Google.
  • Per-table encryption and key identifier support was donated to the MariaDB project by eperi.

We are grateful to these companies for their support of MariaDB!

See Also

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