Summary:

Akiban, the hot Boston-based NewSQL database startup, is making two offerings Akiban Server and Persistit available as downloads this week. To date beta testers have run Akiban Enterprise as an add-on to existing SQL databases. Akiban Server goes it alone.

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Akiban, the hot Boston-based NewSQL database startup, is making two offerings available to the broad community this week.

Akiban Server is a version of the company’s NewSQL database technology that can run independently. To date, Akiban beta testers have run Akiban Enterprise as an adjunct to existing SQL databases, usually, MySQL, using it to offload and speed up complex queries that can bog down performance. A developer preview of this standalone technology is downloadable now. Akiban is also making its Persistit B+Tree technology available under an open license. 

Akiban, like NewSQL pioneer VoltDB , maintains that NoSQL databases may be fine for some jobs but they also lack the sometimes-very-important niceties of SQL. They don’t handle queries very well and that’s a big problem for operational systems on which most companies run their businesses, said Akiban CTO Ori Herrnstadt.

Akiban’s key strength is its table grouping technology. “Table groups co-locate and store data together in a table group that is an object but is also fully ANSI-compliant relational architecture. As a result, we solve a big problem in that you can perform SQL [operations] more efficiently because you eliminate the cost of data joins,” said Akiban co-founder and CEO David McFarlane. (There’s more on this technology here.)

Developers can then work with that data directly as a JSON or XML object or can read it out as a JSON formatted document.

The company may be small — but it has big ambitions.

“Our opportunity is to be the leader in that operational database market which is SQL and transactional in nature. Hadoop can’t really play there — you need real-time results. Mongo doesn’t play there because it lacks transactional consistency and SQL support,” he added.

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