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Exasol: Taking a bet on the affordability of in-memory analytics

German startup reconned on hardware economics favouring a specialist database

Interview Exasol has beaten a separate path from rivals in the market, and while open-source systems have climbed in popularity, the German database biz has remained proprietary. And although other vendors have tried to bring together analytics and transaction in one database, Exasol remains, steadfastly, an analytical system.

This week The Register caught up with CTO Mathias Golombek to find out why he believes the world still needs specialist analytics systems. You can watch the video below.

Exasol was built around an in-memory analytics system and focuses on users with big data problems around high volume and high concurrency. It has long claimed TPC-H benchmark leadership.

“Our customers are using us both for data warehouse environments, but also for acceleration layers so if they are hitting limitation or costs constraints with existing legacy systems, then Exasol is a great fit,” Golombek said.

Based on a university spin-off looking at getting the maximum out of hardware, the unit was researching on computers with 1,000 core spec in the 1990s, Golombek said.

"They had the vision that main memory would become affordable [for these tasks] one day, so they invented a new database management system architecture completely based on in-memory processing," he said.

The company started in 2000, on a technology premise which was bit of a gamble, Golombek admitted. "Back then, main memory was expensive and limited. Architectures were still 32-bit so you could only address 2GB of main memory. Today that is tiny. But having the vision and thinking about the volume in a data warehouse, it was a bet on the future," he said.

Having floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2020, achieving a valuation of €211.1 million, it might be a bet that is paying off. ®

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