Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia pgEdge, a startup that claims to provide a fully distributed database for use in the cloud and at the edge of the network, emerged from stealth today with $9 million in seed funding. It plans to use the capital to expand its team and streamline its database-as-a-service (DBaaS) product offering.
Today, developers are rushing to adopt distributed application architectures and place more components at or near the edge of the network. Companies like Cloudflare, Akamai, Fastly and others have started processing computers closer to the user. pgEdge, for its part, wants to promote its distributed database as optimized for use at or near the edge of the network, while supporting PostgreSQL, an established and increasingly popular open-source database.
How does this offer help?
According to Phillip Merrick, co-founder and CEO of pgEdge, most applications today use a relational database and keep only one read/write copy of it in a single data center or cloud region. Because of this, users who are not near that location may struggle with data latency and long web app load times.
He described pgEdge as a multi-active distributed implementation of Postgres that allows multiple read/write copies of the database to be located closer to application users. It uses asynchronous logical replication with configurable conflict resolution to keep multiple running databases synchronized with each other.
This, Merrick says, minimizes latency and ensures fast load times for all users. In addition, multi-copy teams gain a high degree of fault tolerance and can redirect traffic to another functioning node in the event of an outage.
Merrick and Denis Lussier, co-founder of pgEdge and CTO, joined forces at EnterpriseDB in the early 2000s. That company has been a major player in bringing open source technology to the forefront.
Merrick said that while distributed database capabilities were interesting even then, the idea behind EnterpriseDB was to bring capabilities to open-source Postgres, making it more attractive to larger enterprises. At the time, that meant adding Oracle compatibility. “It seemed too early for fully distributed databases,” he said.
“Fast-forward to mid-2022, with industry developments such as the emergence of full-fledged edge computing platforms. It was time to revisit ‘Door number 2,’ he said. Door number 2 distributes Postgres, in the form of pgEdge.
Currently, the company has two offerings for pgEdge-distributed PostgreSQL databases. One is a fully managed distributed DBaaS (available in a limited private beta program) with an interface to securely configure, provision, and monitor a cluster of pgEdge databases running in any of the 100+ zones in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. The other is a downloadable self-hosting platform, both on-premises and in the cloud, for organizations that need or prefer to self-host their database software. It can be deployed on-premises or in customer-managed cloud accounts on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
Notably, the replication capabilities of both offerings are configurable at the table or row level, which can help teams manage data residency challenges.
Not the only distributed database
While pgEdge’s offerings may deliver faster load times, it’s important to note that it’s not the only player working to deliver a distributed database. CockroachDB and Yugabyte offer similar solutions. However, PgEdge claims that those offers are not based on Postgres itself.
“By being completely based on standard Postgres, pgEdge enables customers to easily make their existing Postgres applications fully distributed and ‘edge-compatible’, usually without any change to the application code. They can also leverage the tools and expertise available for the world’s most popular open-source database,” Merrick noted.
With this round of funding, led by Sands Capital Ventures and Grotech Ventures, the company plans to expand its engineering, sales and customer success teams. It also plans to invest in further developing the ease of use of its pgEdge Cloud database-as-a-service offering.
Using the product as an early customer, Bill Mitchell, CTO of media analytics firm PublicRelay, was able to reduce page load times between the US and Europe, significantly improving the user experience for his international employees and customers.
“We’ve been using pgEdge for a few months now and I’m very impressed with its performance and stability,” he said. “Their multi-master replication capability allows me to easily manage and scale my PostgreSQL databases without any hassle. The product is easy to manage and that has saved me a lot of time and effort.”
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