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Splice Machine releases dual-engine RDBMS to open source

Thor Olavsrud | June 16, 2016
The startup hopes to dramatically increase adoption of its dual-engine relational database management system, powered by Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, by making the technology open source.

Splice Machine, the startup behind a dual-engine relational database management system (RDBMS) powered by Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, last week announced that it would release that technology to open source.

Splice Machine uses resource isolation — separate processes and resource management for its Hadoop and Spark components — to ensure that large, complex online analytical processing (OLAP) queries don't overwhelm time-sensitive online transaction processing (OLTP) queries. The hybrid architecture allows you to run analytical workloads and transactional workloads concurrently — a boon for use cases ranging from digital marketing to ETL acceleration, operational data lakes, data warehouse offloads, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, web, mobile and social applications and operational applications.

Founded in 2012, the San Francisco-based company has been attracting customers and investors alike. It's raised $31 million in four rounds from five investors — in its most recent round, in January of this year, it raised $9 million in series C funding. Last year, IDG Connect named it one of 20 red-hot, pre-IPO companies in B2B technology.

Splice Machine Co-Founder and CEO Monte Zweben says starting as a proprietary software company was the right decision — it's much easier for a software project to get somewhere with a small group of developers that are all under one direction, he says. But this is the right time to transition the company's RDBMS to open source and grow its user base.

"From our perspective, it's clear that the proprietary software model adds friction to the adoption process," he says. "We want tens of thousands of users, not hundreds of users. That's a major new opportunity, given the open source movement."

Until now, Zweben explains, Splice Machine has gone to market with a proprietary software model that was appropriate for a young startup. The sales team would ask hard sales questions, like: "What's this project about? Is there budget for it? Who's your boss?"

But that has a chilling effect on developers seeking to learn something new.

"If you're a developer interested in simply examining the state of the art and experimenting, that's now a conversation you're comfortable with," Zweben says.

By releasing the technology to open source, Zweben says Splice Machine will allow developers to freely experiment with its technology and, ultimately, will lead to more enterprise deployments.

"Customers view open source software as standard," he says. "This is an insurance policy for them. There's no single point of failure. If we're acquired or change focus, there's a large community that can continue development. It reduces vendor lock-in."

As an added benefit, he notes, a large open source community around a technology means organizations can find talent who know the technology inside and out.


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