Cloud database provider Xeround has made its MySQL database available as an add-on within Heroku’s PaaS offering, following on its availability for Amazon EC2 users in September, and likely preceding availability on a number of other cloud computing platforms. For Xeround, the bet on being the premiere database service for the cloud is a stark contrast to the company’s pre-2010 business strategy of selling data virtualization to telcos. However, it currently has the cloud database market largely to itself, as well as a technology that can easily adapt to its surroundings, wherever they might be.
Xeround has been around since 2005, and began its existence selling a data virtualization product to telcos that allowed them to view all of their siloed data in a single place so they could get a unified view of the entire business, not just on a department-by-department basis. However, when Razi Sharir took over as CEO, he spotted an opportunity to transform the business to serve the greater market for cloud computing users (although it still serves a few legacy telco customers, including T-Mobile). Xeround still uses the core IP, only it has been tweaked to include a MySQL front end on top of the Xeround back end, which, interestingly, runs in-memory and utilizes NoSQL concepts. According to Sharir, Xeround’s technology can now accommodate pretty much any front end, and MySQL might just be the beginning.
At the least, support for AWS and Heroku are just the beginning. Sharir said Xeround is planning to support a variety of new cloud platforms in the coming months, including those from some large telcos and, likely, Rackspace, Terremark and GoGrid. Xeround’s technology is platform-agnostic, Sharir explained, so it doesn’t need the “blessing” of any cloud providers to run atop their platforms. Xeround just needs to see a big enough demand to justify optimizing its software for that particular cloud. Presently, he thinks Xeround is the only true cloud database around; he called Marc Benioff’s new Database.com offering more data as a service than database as a service, and characterized AWS’s Relational Database Service as the closest thing to Xeround, but limited in portability and scalability because it’s really just a MySQL VM running in Amazon EC2. However, up-and-coming cloud database NimbusDB is currently in its alpha stage and could give Xeround a run for its money in the future.
There’s a lot of value to a third-party database service that can travel with users as they move from cloud to cloud, and that hide a a cloud-optimized back end under a familiar SQL front end. Whether it’s Xeround, NimbusDB or someone else altogether providing the capability, it’s an area that’s poised to take off as cloud servers and storage become widely accepted. Xeround is just ahead of the game for the time being.
Image courtesy of Xeround.