Scalable SQL database startup Clustrix has closed a $12 million Series B round of funding, bringing its total to $30 million. The new money came from existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and ATA Ventures. Considering Clustrix’s steady momentum since launching in May, this funding shouldn’t take anybody by surprise.
Clustrix’s flagship product is a clustered database appliance that the company claims combines NoSQL scalability with MySQL functionality. As Stacey pointed out upon the company’s launch, it sounds the Holy Grail of Internet-scale data management, but there might actually be something behind the great story. In October, Facebook VP of Technical Operations Jonathan Heiliger joined Clustrix’s executive advisory panel. This is significant because Facebook created the popular Cassandra NoSQL database, and part of Clustrix’s aim is to convince customers that they need not make the functionality sacrifices inherent in tools like Cassandra in order to achieve the same level of scalability. (Of course, Facebook is still an avid MySQL user, as it has made clear on numerous occasions.)
Heiliger’s decision to join the Clustrix board, as well as the advent of competitors such as the Michael Stonebraker-founded VoltDB, led me to ask a couple of months ago whether scalable SQL offerings will keep NoSQL databases from ever really getting off the ground, at least in cases where a relational database can do the job. Clustrix Founder and CEO Paul Mikesell thinks this is the case: “We think that both will exist, but we’re quite convinced now that the bulk of that is going to remain SQL-based.”
It might be easy to nay-say companies such as Clustrix because, really, they often end up competing with database stalwarts like Oracle in order to make sales. But, if Mikesell has proven anything over his career, it’s that he knows how to build clustered data systems that work; he founded clustered file system proprietor Isilon Systems, which EMC recently bought for $2.25 billion. Clustrix has a sales team full of former Isilon employees, in fact, and claims to have some big-name customers already on board, some of whom we can expect to hear about early next year. Additionally, new VP of Sales George Reitz helped webscale-server vendor Rackable Systems (now SGI) grow its revenues to $10 million a year to $360 million a year, selling to, ostensibly, the same customer base.
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