Harvard Law School brought in Bitlancer to help with a migration from Oracle MySQL to MariaDB, and to advise on improving database performance, reliability and deployment automation.

Initial situation:

  • Harvard Law School had a large and complex database environment based on Oracle MySQL. Database deployments were only partially automated, with many manual steps required to deploy MySQL instances. Most MySQL instances were very poorly tuned, and were deployed on physical servers or on oversized virtual servers. Further, most MySQL instances were deployed without slaves, so redundancy was lacking.

How Bitlancer addressed the problems:

  • Implemented a new Puppet module to handle deployment of MariaDB instances, including installing MariaDB, deploying a customized my.cnf file and configuring backups
  • Virtualized most of the MariaDB server instances
  • Configured MariaDB slaves and replication for each server
  • Tuned each MariaDB server to optimize performance according to its data footprint and workload


  • Automation enables team members to deploy virtual MariaDB instances in under five minutes.
  • Improved backup configurations support faster and easier restores.
  • MariaDB instances are appropriately sized and tuned for their intended purposes.
  • Harvard Law School is now running a more up-to-date and arguably faster version of MySQL.
  • The consolidation of physical infrastructure and better computing resource utilization resulting from virtualization and tuning has reduced energy consumption.
  • Improved redundancy and reduced risk of downtime and data loss through greater virtualization and more robust replication.