Readers of the MySQLPlus blog have voted Galera as the top choice in the "What would you like to test in 2013?" category. We apparently are narrowly more interesting to test than MySQL 5.6, which is both humbling and difficult to put into right perspective. But we were all very glad to find out about this selection for sure!
Galera development was started in 2007 by Seppo, Teemu and Alex. They had already worked on various MySQL replication products since 2003. Around that time they read about some new academic research on concepts like virtual synchrony and certification based clustering. They were convinced this was the key to create a robust and useful synchronous multi-master cluster for MySQL.
Having failed to convince the management of their then employer about the superiority of the idea, they started their own company to be able to work on the project they believed in. Having failed to convince a venture capitalist to invest in what was essentially just an algorithm in an acadademic thesis, they worked as subcontractors for other companies to pay their own salaries, while developing Galera on off hours. They named their company "Codership". I've later learned that reading of the company name as something involving a "ship" (vessel) is incorrect, rather it should be read as a word analogous to "friendship" and other similar words.
First public Galera releases were done on Launchpad in 2010. Version 1.0 was released in 2011 and in 2012 it was picked up first by Percona and then MariaDB to integrate Galera into their MySQL forks. Today you are able to use Galera synchronous multi-master replication with all 3 major MySQL forks. The dream of Seppo, Teemu and Alex is finally reality. High availability and scale-out for MySQL has become more robust and easy to achieve. Thanks to a combination of science, good programming and luck Galera fits well into the modern LAMP stack and is used in private and public clouds, WAN replication and other use cases.
To all of you wishing to test Galera in 2013, we wish you good luck and hope you will enjoy the experience. We have an awesome community around Galera right now, and invite you to join the codership-team Google Group to ask questions and share your experiences. You can also find us on the #mysql, #percona and #maria IRC channels (freenode). You can also follow us on twitter to catch up with news and blog posts.
And of course, if your evaluation goes well, we recommend that you cover your production installations with 24/7 support.