Community Blog The Open-Source Folks Talk - Episode 3: PolarDB Open-Source Status and Future Plan

The Open-Source Folks Talk - Episode 3: PolarDB Open-Source Status and Future Plan

The following article provides a detailed explanation of the current open-source strategy, community operation strategy, and future construction direction of open-source PolarDB.

On October 25, at the Database PolarDB Special Session , the third issue of Open Source Folks Talk was jointly organized by the Alibaba Cloud Developer Community, PolarDB Open Source Community, and infoQ. Yuan Wang (Head of Alibaba Cloud Database Open-Source and Senior Expert of Database Team) delivered a speech entitled PolarDB Open-Source Status and Future Plan.

The following article comes from the speech. PolarDB is a cloud-native database developed by Alibaba Cloud. The source code of its PolarDB-X and PolarDB for PostgreSQL products is available on GitHub. The following article provides a detailed explanation of the current open-source strategy, community operation strategy, ecosystem construction, and future construction direction of open-source PolarDB.

1. What Kind of Open-Source Community Do We Need?


First, the essence of open-source products are products, so simplicity and ease of use are necessary. After decades of development of the database, from standalone to distributed to the cloud, its technical threshold is still high.

Therefore, we are working hard to make open-source PolarDB as simple as MySQL and PG standalone so common users can install it quickly.

Second, open-source does not mean there is no quality assurance. Instead, it should try to work towards the enterprise-level product. High efficiency, stability, and security are the principles that open-source PolarDB must adhere to.

Third, the prosperity of the community is inseparable from the efforts of all members. More people should be allowed to participate in community construction, including (but not limited to) users, developers, and partners.

Finally, we should stick to technology-driven. As the largest cloud vendor in China, Alibaba Cloud's open-source products are expected to be able to lead the technology trend.

In summary, we believe open-source products should have the following qualities: easy to use, fast, stable, safe, and technological leadership, with more people involved.

2. Overall Open-Source Policy of Alibaba Cloud Databases


The first principle Alibaba Cloud adheres to when opening the source of PolarDB is to be compatible with the database ecosystem. Since the first day of open-source, PolarDB has been targeting a compatible ecosystem. A compatible ecosystem includes syntax and SQL compatibility and experience compatibility. For example, PolarDB-X and PolarDB for PostgreSQL are cloud-native distributed databases, but this does not mean they will pass the complexity of distribution to customers in terms of experience. We hope the cloud-native database is as simple and easy to use as the standalone database.


The second principle of open-source PolarDB is to insist on full openness. The most distinctive feature of open-source PolarDB is that it provides customers with complete open-source products running on the cloud.

A large number of Alibaba Cloud customers have tested the maturity of PolarDB products. Therefore, we open-source mature PolarDB enterprise-level products. We hope more users and technical personnel can enjoy this technology bonus and participate in co-construction through open-source, thus promoting the development of PolarDB technology on the cloud. We also hope more users and partners can put forward requirements to promote the evolution of PolarDB.

3. Open-Source Product Introduction


PolarDB-X and PolarDB for PostgreSQL are currently the two open-source products of Alibaba Cloud Database.


The preceding figure shows the timeline of the release of PolarDB open-source products. Throughout this year, most of the features released by PolarDB-X and PolarDB for PostgreSQL focus on enterprise-level features. We continue to release enterprise-level features through open-source channels, including Kubernetes compatibility, data consistency, enhanced analysis capabilities, security, flashback, audit, and disaster recovery.

This confirms that Alibaba Cloud hopes that open-source products can be used by more enterprises in the actual production environment.

4. Operation and Ecological Construction of the PolarDB Open-Source Community


In the future, the open-source operation of PolarDB will continue to be promoted around partners, technology-driven, and content.

As the basic software connecting the preceding and the following, the database cannot be separated from the cooperative work of partners. We hope to join hands with full-stack partners of the open-source PolarDB community (including underlying chips, operating systems, and storage networks) and upper-layer applications to build a community together. We also look forward to working with industry leaders to build industry-specific open-source databases.

In addition, we will invest a lot of resources and energy to manage the technical content. In the past year, we have set up over ten technical content columns, covering the technical requirements of users of different levels, types, and needs, including kernel development, application development, operation and maintenance management, and architecture consultation. In the future, I hope more partners, users, and developers will join in to construct content together.


The preceding figure shows the open-source PolarDB ecosystem we envisioned. We hope to create a comprehensive ecosystem of open-source PolarDB, from north to south and east to west. The south is hardware and operating systems, the north is application software, the west is cooperation with different users and developers (including operation and maintenance, kernel research and development, technology research and development), and the east is data tools (including operation and maintenance tools, data flow tools, and middleware). We hope to make the open-source PolarDB community prosperous through comprehensive ecological construction.

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