May 17, 2010

Simply Transformational

It’s great to be posting my first blog as NorthScale’s new chief executive. This is a unique company with a unique opportunity to drive the incredible transformation taking place in the data management space. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. So, what attracted me to NorthScale? And for that matter, why did our investors just pour $10 million into our company coffers? In a word: simplicity. The simplicity of NorthScale’s technology, the simplicity of our market strategy, and our commitment to make it as simple as possible for customers to get from where they are today to where this new wave of technology transformation leads. Drilling down a bit, there are a number of things about NorthScale that get me excited:

The market: Modern application development – whether it’s web applications or public/private clouds – is really changing the way we need to think about data management. Today’s application architectures call for scale-out technologies – not just to accommodate the growing numbers of users hitting these systems but also to take advantage of the economics of commodity hardware. A dynamic scale-out data layer is a critical part of this emerging technology stack, and relational database technology, with its scale-up architecture, doesn’t fit the bill. There’s an enormous opportunity for new thinking and approaches, and the advent of noSQL as an alternative to traditional relational database technology signals the beginning of what I believe will be a sweeping transformation of data management. Having said that, it’s important not to throw the RDBMS baby out with the bath water – I’ll come back to that. The strategy: With such a rich market opportunity, many contenders are emerging to vie for a spot in the noSQL winner’s circle. I believe NorthScale’s approach elevates it above the crowd. Our aim is to leverage the ubiquity and success of memcached as a key-value caching technology to deliver a market-leading key-value database technology. In a nutshell, we are combining all the things people love about memcached – simplicity, speed, infinite scalability – with the persistence, replication and other things they need in a noSQL database. What resonates with customers is the simplicity of using and adopting NorthScale products to drive down data management costs for web applications and cloud environments. NorthScale technology complements relational databases – which aren’t going away, by the way – and works alongside them to alleviate database load and improve performance and scalability. Further, with NorthScale, customers can start right where they are, with existing database investments and expertise, moving forward gradually toward a scale-out data layer. Here again our watchword is simplicity – we don’t think customers should have to work through complex APIs or re-architect their environment before they get any value out of their noSQL solution. With NorthScale’s approach, customers start to see real value the moment they install the software. That’s a winning strategy. The team: One of the scarcest resources in this industry is rock star engineering talent. When it comes to memcached, NorthScale has cornered the market. Our technical team has contributed more than two-thirds of the lines of code for open source memcached, and they continue to provide leadership in community-driven innovation. I’m convinced that we’ve got the right people, and the right team DNA, to deliver the winning technology to the market. The resources: Having just closed our Series B round, NorthScale is set to accelerate our engineering and go-to-market efforts. My background and experience are a great fit for NorthScale at this juncture. I’ve had the privilege of leading a number of companies from early stage to rapid growth – and I look forward to doing the same here at NorthScale. At the end of the day, the key to NorthScale’s success is the success of our customers as they scale out the data layer in support of modern applications. I believe we have all the right ingredients to drive that success, but ultimately you need to be the judge. I encourage you to sign up for the upcoming beta of our key-value database, NorthScale Membase Server, to see for yourself how simple noSQL can be.

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