Basho's CEO, CTO and chief architect leave the NoSQL upstart

Database biz ship remains steady, insists outgoing exec


Exclusive Riak database steward Basho has lost its chief executive, its chief architect, and now its chief technology officer in the past three months. But we're assured that the upstart's distributed system dream will be kept alive and well.

The Register has learned that CTO Justin Sheehy will soon be off to pastures unknown; chief architect Andy Gross today revealed he is leaving to take up a position at Twitter; and CEO Greg Collins left in January.

Both Sheehy and Gross had been with the company since its formation six years ago, and had spearheaded technical development of the firm's flagship tech, Riak.

Riak is an open-source scale-out NoSQL database that is used by various large organizations around the world including Best Buy, the UK's National Health Service, Comcast, Google-acquisition Bump, Rovio, and Microsoft-acquired Yammer.

Riak is a high-availability, fault-tolerant database management system that uses a key/value model for object storage. Its tech is fully distributed so each node contains a full copy of the Riak package, allowing whole sections of a data center to suffer a brownout before the service goes down. If configured correctly, it can also survive an entire data center-wide failure.

Most recently, the company pushed strong consistency into the second version of Riak, giving the software a key feature needed for enterprise deployments; merged Apache Solr into an integrated search feature code named Yokozuna; and added support for data types.

The upstart also builds and sells Riak Enterprise, which has features including multi-data-center replication and cascading real-time writes, and started offering paid -for support options for its tech.

Its software competes with NoSQL rivals MongoDB, DataStax and others.

Basho is also known for being a hotbed of distributed systems research, with its conference Ricon West playing host to a menagerie of well-regarded technical speakers drawn by the Riak community's technical excellence. Ex-Basho employees have gone on to do interesting things, with former employee Tyler Hannan now working at SolidFire, and former chief operating officer Antony Falco now running the Chameleon-like database service Orchestrate.io.

Speaking to El Reg, Sheehy insisted these changes are not as scary as they sound, and that the company will be left in good hands.

"Basho has an amazing team that has built great things, and I know they're not done delivering greatness. With new and energetic leadership on the way in, and an existing strong focus on customers and product, there are many reasons why I am optimistic. I'm proud to remain a friend and happy to remain an investor in the company," Sheehy told us via email.

The company – which has offices in San Francisco, Washington DC, Cambridge, MA, London and Tokyo – is in the process of bringing in a new chief executive, we understand. ®

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