Databases are an essential part of doing business in the digital world, but not every organization is successful with them. In a 2019 study by Vanson Bourne, companies said they were held back by legacy database technologies, especially relational database systems. Relational databases weren’t designed with newer apps or the cloud in mind, respondents said, making them difficult to adapt and work with at times. According to the survey, 72% of companies believe their reliance on relational databases — including architectures built around them — limits their ability to implement digital transformation projects.
Not surprisingly, companies are increasingly embracing alternatives to relational databases, such as NoSQL. Driven by a lack of scalability with legacy solutions, they are looking for modern systems – including cloud-based systems – that support scalability while reducing costs and accelerating development. Gartner predicts that 75% of all databases will have migrated to a cloud service by 2022, highlighting the shift.
“The database industry is facing a major shift to a new business model,” Yury Selivanov, the CEO of EdgeDB, a startup creating a next-gen database architecture, told MovieUpdates via email. “Obviously, there’s a long tail of small and medium businesses that need to build software quickly and then host their data in the cloud, preferably in a convenient and cost-effective way.”
Selivanov touts EdgeDB, which he co-founded with Elvis Pranskevichus in 2019, as one of the solutions to the legacy database problem. EdgeDB’s open source architecture is relational, but Selivanov says it’s designed to fix some fundamental design flaws that make working with databases — both relational and NoSQL — unnecessarily burdensome for enterprises.
“EdgeDB has a very ambitious goal: to reshape relational databases with a focus on the developer experience,” said Selivanov. “We are quite unique in that regard. While most database companies are concerned about scalability, we want to make real developers hugely more productive when they build with EdgeDB compared to building with any other database, be it SQL or NoSQL.”
In launching EdgeDB, Selivanov and Pranskevichus drew on their experiences at MagicStack, a Toronto, Canada-based software consultancy they co-founded in 2008. that he and Pranskevichus realized that the way forward was to become a product company.
Version 1.0 of EdgeDB was quietly launched in February and brought with it an integrated access control system and query language, EdgeQL, which Selivanov claims is 10 to 1,000 times faster than traditional SQL (depending on the operation). Work is currently underway on EdgeDB 2.0, which will introduce a database visualization user interface and experimental support for WebAssembly, the open standard for running binary programs in web browsers.
As is the case with most startups involved in open source, EdgeDB aims to monetize a managed service built on top of the GitHub hosted codebase. The upcoming EdgeDB Cloud offers a “rich” graphical user interface and support for terminal commands to create a cloud database instance, Selivanov says, as well as integration with frontend web app development stack Vercel.
“Our cloud database tracks slow queries and suggests how to optimize the database layout or queries. It offers built-in performance tracking and out-of-the-box integration with services like DataDog,” added Selivanov. “We don’t have any machine learning-related functionality yet, but we’re thinking about building some data science capabilities directly into our database… We We don’t have any concrete plans at the moment, but this is an intriguing future vertical for us.”
EdgeDB remains pre-revenue, but Selivanov expects the company to begin cash generation in Q4 2022, the tentative launch window for the premium EdgeDB Cloud. To date, EdgeDB, headquartered in San Francisco, California, with 10 employees, has raised $4 million from Accel and angel investors, including Greg Brockman, a co-founder and the CTO of OpenAI.
“In some areas, we will compete with several mindshare developer companies like Prisma, Supabase, and maybe PlanetScale,” Selivanov admitted when asked who he sees as top competitors. †[But] EdgeDB’s value proposition is unique in that we are dramatically improving the exchange of database data in many areas at once… We are already seeing a successful grassroots movement where people are starting to build real production applications with EdgeDB. We expect traction to accelerate once we launch our cloud product and native integration with Vercel in about a month’s time.”