NewSQL Meetup last week

I attended a meetup last week in Santa Clara and the topic was The Realities of NewSQL. Three companies were represented in a panel discussion – Clustrix (Raj Bains), VoltDB (Scott Jar), and TransLattice (Michael Lyle). Steve Baunach from Starview was the moderator.

This new category called NewSQL represents companies using the relational data model and SQL to impart better scalability, performance, and high availability. Following the rise of NoSQL community of companies bringing schema-less object-oriented data model with relaxed consistency and scale-out on commodity servers, the NewSQL group claims similar scale-out, but with relational DB and SQL support.

Three claims stood out in their discussion – preserving the SQL skill-base and relational model of data that has dominated the landscape for last 20 plus years; high scale-out by adding commodity servers (a weakness specially with MySQL); and better availability.

VoltDB deals with transaction processing (dominated by IBM and Oracle products) with very high throughput (due to the proliferation of devices as new data sources) and better performance. Their claim is that they have eliminated many unnecessary overheads from traditional RDBMS products by using in-memory techniques extensively.

Clustrix claims it has eliminated sharding (extra burden to users if they have to manage it) as offered by NoSQL products. Their mantra for success is scale-out on clusters – being able to handle high loads by adding commodity scale servers. They specifically focus on the MySQL user base.

The TransLattice Elastic Database (TED) is a Relational Database Management System that provides ANSI-SQL support, the ACID transactions enterprise applications require, and the ability to scale-out across wide distances using ordinary Internet connections. It uses partitioning to split databases across nodes. This notion is not new and has been deployed by IBM and Oracle for many years.

It was unclear on why existing users of IBM or Oracle will adopt one of these products, as the incumbents are marching forward to scale-out models and improving TCO. The MySQL community has been using external products for scalability for a while and that is understandable. But being part of Oracle corporation, MySQL will see enhancements in its scalability offerings. Then there is SAP Hana that claims big performance gains.

There are many companies under this umbrella – ClustrixGenieDBSchoonerVoltDBRethinkDBScaleDB, Akiban,CodeFuturesScaleBaseTranslattice, NimbusDB, etc. With the marketing noise of Big Data and Cloud, new companies are getting funded by the dozens. It is going to be a tough space to differentiate and become a winner.

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