From building distributed systems for Meta and Netflix, these engineers are now building Yugabyte

Back in 2007, when Kannan Muthukkaruppan joined Facebook, now Meta, the social media giant’s operating database level was software called MySQL. While it was efficient, it had its limitations, especially for a company as large as Facebook.

It was around this time that Kannan, along with Karthik Ranganathan and Mikhail Bautin, who made up the core engineering team, and creators Prashant Malik and Avinash Lakshman, built Cassandra and HBase. Today, Cassandra is one of the largest NoSQL database management systems used by Valley tech giants like Netflix, Meta-owned Instagram, and Apple.

Soon Kannan, Ranganathan, and Bautin found themselves working at Nutanix, but the essence of what they wanted to do was still building database solutions. This led them to start yugabyte in 2016. It is a high-performance transactional distributed SQL database for cloud-native applications.

Kanna Muthukkaruppan, co-founder of Yugabyte

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Making use of the cloud

Cloud computing is extremely powerful. Today, anyone can scale businesses from millions to billions in a matter of months. Recognizing this potential, Kannan, Karthik and Mikhail decided to take the best of both worlds and bring them together.

A few years have passed and Yugabyte has come a long way since 2016. Today, it is a high-performance transactional distributed SQL database for cloud-native applications.

This idea earned the startup around $188 million in October last year, with Meritech Capital Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, 8VC, and Dell Technology Capital all participating in the round.

“Then we focused on creating databases that were inherently capable of running on a large set of servers, capable of data resiliency, and able to replicate data between servers,” says Kannan. He adds that there was a large field of application developers who were familiar with MySQL that was easy to build in terms of data replication.

Since distributed databases are complex in nature, they must be built with data resiliency in mind as they can replicate data between servers.

“What if we could incorporate the cloud-native properties of distributed databases, but without giving up relational database feature sets like SQL and support for transactions,” says Kannan.

As it stands, Yugabyte is a high-performance transactional distributed SQL database for cloud-native applications.

Yugabyte USA Team

The Yugabyte Path

According to Kannan, databases should have the flexibility to expand when needed. Take this example: If your database was supporting 20,000 transactions per second, but six months later you wanted to support 40,000 transactions per second, you just want to be able to add that extra capacity and let the database do its magic for you.

These ideas of scalability are not present in the databases of the past, and perhaps it is also what distinguishes Yugabyte.

“Cloud native is more of a paradigm, meaning you want your infrastructure to be highly resilient, highly elastic. You have to tolerate the failure of an entire data center, and you still need to be able to serve your users. Those are all things that the modern cloud is making possible. Today’s modern cloud allows you to bring new capabilities at will. And you need a database that can take advantage of that elasticity,” says Kannan.

Yugabyte is vertical and industry agnostic. Most organizations start with building complex infrastructures. They start with monolithic or single-node databases like MySQL. Typically, to offload this overhead to single-node databases, organizations tend to add a tier of caching that helps offload some of the workload onto the primary server.

In this process, the functionality of the entire operation may be affected. This is what Yugabyte solves, explains Kannan.

“By moving to Yugabyte, this complexity is significantly reduced. Functionality comes down to fewer moving parts. If there is no caching level databases, replication and rebalancing of multiple data centers, and sharding. If a single database can take care of all of that, to me, there’s a lot less complexity for organizations for their operations teams and for developers. It helps speed time to market at lower cost and higher uptime,” he says.

Yugabyte India Team

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In it for the long haul

Bhaskar Ghosh, partner and chief technology officer (CTO) at 8VC, explains that building a database infrastructure product and business is fundamentally difficult. However, he believes that Yugabyte is the one who will make it happen.

“Yugabyte is well on its way to building a disruptive and generational business as part of the journey to become the de facto cloud data tier for next-generation data-driven applications as well as legacy applications that need to be modernized for the enterprise. cloud-native,” he says.

There is no doubt that it is well placed to make it happen. According to press reports, the global cloud database market size is projected to reach $68 billion by 2027. Companies working on cloud database management other than Yugabyte include MongoDB , Amazon Redshift, Oracle, DataStax Enterprise and others.

Last fiscal year (ending January 2022), Yugabyte had ARR growth of more than 500 percent year-on-year. The company, while refusing to share its revenue details, says it charges based on the server core license agreement. Chargers are based solely on the license agreement in the retail sector. Kroger in the US is one of the early adopters of Yugabyte. While the company currently operates outside of the US and India, it is looking to expand its operations into other markets.

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