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Summary:

Roger Levy says SkySQL will move into a relational database innovation phase now, rather than just trying to provide an alternative to Oracle’s MySQL.

SkySQL, the Finnish database firm that wants to steal Oracle’s lunch with the MySQL fork MariaDB, has hired the former general manager of HP’s public cloud services as its new product chief.

Roger Levy told me on Wednesday that his team had been “somewhat isolated” from HP’s ongoing layoff extravaganza, as cloud is where HP is trying to refocus its efforts, but he couldn’t resist SkySQL’s offer. “For me it was a couple of things,” he said. “One, the interesting opportunity that SkySQL has in the industry, and the other was from a personal point of view, wanting to get back to the startup environment.”

As Levy noted, SkySQL brings together some of “the top database people around” – it takes in many members of the original MySQL team. Now, with $20 million in the bank from an Intel-led Series B round last October, SkySQL is trying to push MariaDB particularly into the enterprise.

“Our path is to be the best database selection for essentially people who want to do high scale, high performance transaction processing within the enterprise, within webscale, and better orient towards those who want to consume it in a cloud model, whether it’s public or private,” he told me.

According to Levy, SkySQL is moving beyond its original strategy providing a bridge for those who don’t like how Oracle manages the supposedly open-source MySQL. He claimed the next version of MariaDB, in a couple months’ time, will have “interesting new capabilities and properties” that will act as a starting point for future evolution.

“We’re making sure the relational database market continues to innovate and keep up with the evolving needs of the customer,” Levy said. “The fact is that many people who are launching large webscale properties or others don’t really have the [database administrator] skills – we need to make it more automated and easier to use for them.”

He added that SkySQL would also focus on building APIs in order to create an ecosystem that will allow the firm to “build full end-to-end solutions.”

Levy wasn’t the only hire announced by SkySQL on Wednesday. The company has also taken on Dion Corbett, formerly a Red Hat sales strategy VP, as VP Global Sales, and former OpenLogic CEO Steven Grandchamp as VP North American Sales.