dbShards and CodeFutures

Analysis of Code Futures and its flagship product dbShards. Related subjects include:

January 5, 2013

NewSQL thoughts

I plan to write about several NewSQL vendors soon, but first here’s an overview post. Like “NoSQL”, the term “NewSQL” has an identifiable, recent coiner — Matt Aslett in 2011 — yet a somewhat fluid meaning. Wikipedia suggests that NewSQL comprises three things:

I think that’s a pretty good working definition, and will likely remain one unless or until:

To date, NewSQL adoption has been limited.

That said, the problem may lie more on the supply side than in demand. Developing a competitive SQL DBMS turns out to be harder than developing something in the NoSQL state of the art.

Read more

March 31, 2012

Our clients, and where they are located

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below, the first since a little over a year ago. To be clear:

For reasons explained below, I’ll group the clients geographically. Obviously, companies often have multiple locations, but this is approximately how it works from the standpoint of their interactions with me. Read more

March 26, 2012

CodeFutures/dbShards update

I’ve been talking a fair bit with Cory Isaacson, CEO of my client CodeFutures, which makes dbShards. Business notes include:

Apparently, the figure of 6 dbShards customers in July, 2010 is more comparable to today’s 20ish contracts than to today’s 7-8 production users. About 4 of the original 6 are in production now.

NDA stuff aside, the main technical subject we talked about is something Cory calls “relational sharding”. The point is that dbShards’ transparent sharding can be done in such a way as to make many joins be single-server. Specifically:

dbShards can’t do cross-shard joins, but it can do distributed transactions comprising multiple updates. Cory argues persuasively that in almost all cases this is enough; but I see cross-shard joins as a feature that should someday be added to dbShards even so.

The real issue with dbShards’ transparent sharding is ensuring it’s really transparent. Cory regards as typical a customer with a couple thousand tables, who had to change a dozen or so SQL statements to implement dbShards. But there are near-term plans to automate the number of SQL changes needed down to 0. The essence of that change is this: Read more

October 23, 2011

Transparent relational OLTP scale-out

There’s a perception that, if you want (relatively) worry-free database scale-out, you need a non-relational/NoSQL strategy. That perception is false. In the analytic case it’s completely ridiculous, as has been demonstrated by Teradata, Vertica, Netezza, and various other MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) analytic DBMS vendors. And now it’s false for short-request/OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) use cases as well.

My favorite relational OLTP scale-out choice these days is the SchoonerSQL/dbShards partnership. Schooner Information Technology (SchoonerSQL) and Code Futures (dbShards) are young, small companies, but I’m not too concerned about that, because the APIs they want you to write to are just MySQL’s. The main scenarios in which I can see them failing are ones in which they are competitively leapfrogged, either by other small competitors – e.g. ScaleBase, Akiban, TokuDB, or ScaleDB — or by Oracle/MySQL itself. While that could suck for my clients Schooner and Code Futures, it would still provide users relying on MySQL scale-out with one or more good product alternatives.

Relying on non-MySQL NewSQL startups, by way of contrast, would leave me somewhat more concerned. (However, if their code is open sourced. you have at least some vendor-failure protection.) And big-vendor scale-out offerings, such as Oracle RAC or DB2 pureScale, may be more complex to deploy and administer than the MySQL and NewSQL alternatives.

October 23, 2011

Schooner pivots further

Schooner Information Technology started out as a complete-system MySQL appliance vendor. Then Schooner went software-only, but continued to brag about great performance in configurations with solid-state drives. Now Schooner has pivoted further, and is emphasizing high availability, clustered performance, and other hardware-agnostic OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) features. Fortunately, Schooner has some interesting stuff in those areas to talk about.

The short form of the SchoonerSQL (as Schooner’s product is now called) story goes roughly like this:

Read more

October 2, 2011

Defining NoSQL

A reporter tweeted:  ”Is there a simple plain English definition for NoSQL?” After reminding him of my cynical yet accurate Third Law of Commercial Semantics, I gave it a serious try, and came up with the following. More precisely, I tweeted the bolded parts of what’s below; the rest is commentary added for this post.

NoSQL is most easily defined by what it excludes: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity. If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you’re in the NoSQL mainstream. Read more

September 19, 2011

Are there any remaining reasons to put new OLTP applications on disk?

Once again, I’m working with an OLTP SaaS vendor client on the architecture for their next-generation system. Parameters include:

So I’m leaning to saying:   Read more

July 15, 2011

Soundbites: the Facebook/MySQL/NoSQL/VoltDB/Stonebraker flap, continued

As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:

Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:

And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.

April 19, 2011

Notes on short-request scale-out MySQL

A press person recently asked about:

… start-ups that are building technologies to enable MySQL and other SQL databases to get over some of the problems they have in scaling past a certain size. … I’d like to get a sense as to whether or not the problems are as severe and wide spread as these companies are telling me? If so, why wouldn’t a customer just move to a new database?

While that sounds as if he was asking about scale-out relational DBMS in general, MySQL or otherwise, short-request or analytic, it turned out that he was asking just about short-request scale-out MySQL. My thoughts and comments on that narrower subject include(d) but are not limited to:  Read more

February 28, 2011

Updating our vendor client disclosures

Edit: This disclosure has been superseded by a March, 2012 version.

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below. To be clear:

With that said, our vendor client disclosures at this time are:

Read more

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