Yugabyte's double-decker DBaaS follows Cochroach in distributed RDBMS

Hopes to lure users with promise of relieving operational burden

Distributed relational database Yugabyte has launched a database-as-a-service product following a rush of inspiration from Facebook, Google and the world of FOSS.

While the open-source DBaaS impressed one analyst, it will have to cope with competition from well-funded CockroachDB, which has had its DBaaS on the market for nearly three years.

Yugabyte is sort of a double-decker database. It is inspired by Google Spanner underneath and compatible with PostgreSQL on top. As Yugabyte founder and CTO Karthik Ranganathan, a former Facebook technical lead, explained to The Register earlier this year:

“We took the lessons from Google Spanner [in] the lower half. This is something that we'd been running at Facebook in a massively distributed manner with NoSQL databases.

"The high availability, the scale and the inherent replication which lets you geographically distribute data; those three features we honed and brought from the NoSQL world where we had hands-on experience and we said, ‘we're gonna stick to the highest-grade RDBMS features so we are the only database that completely reuses the upper half of Postgres. Applications can barely tell the difference.”

The first version of open-source Yugabyte was available in 2017. This week it launched the commercial Yugabyte Cloud, a public database-as-a-service, initially available on AWS and Google Cloud Platform.

The combination would let companies get data close to end-users in globally distributed systems, while also exploiting the full feature set of PostgreSQL, the company said. With the DBaaS, developers would be freed from the hassle of database management, Ranganathan added.

But Yugabyte is not alone in a market (sadly) dubbed NewSQL. CockroachDB is marking out its own territory with a different technical approach. While also claiming compatibility with PostgreSQL on the top half, it relies on a distributed key-value store database underneath, which is either RocksDB or a purpose-built derivative, called Pebble.

Founded in 2015 by ex-Google employees Spencer Kimball, Peter Mattis, and Ben Darnell, CockroachDB attracted $160m funding in January, valuing the firm at $2bn.

Counting Comcast, Doordash and eBay among its customers, Cockroach has been supporting a DBaaS since 2018, also in AWS and GCP.

However, Mike Leone, senior analyst at ESG, said this does not necessarily mean Yugabyte is late to the NewSQL DBaaS party.

“There are components to Yugabyte’s message that show differentiation, especially as it relates to flexibility due to the open-source nature of the solution, as well as scalable and predictable performance.

"With performance being a top attribute that matters most to organisations in their consideration of a database solution, Yugabyte has some eye-opening performance claims when it comes to operations per second, latency, and ability to handle large data sets that will all but force organisations to consider them,” he said.

Leone argued the demands of a multi-environment and multi-cloud world, meant operational burdens were such that the DBaaS option was becoming increasingly attractive. “Organisations are asking for help in reigning in the complexity needed to manage growing database deployments. DBaaS can provide the agility and operational efficiency they need to be successful,” he said. ®

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