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MemSQL Rides In-Memory Rocket, SQL Legacy for Big Data

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Posted June 25, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

Startup tackles Big Data with a database that exploits SQL skill sets and adds an in-memory performance boost.

San Francisco-based MemSQL released a new database that the startup says will give companies struggling with Big Data the benefits of SQL at NoSQL speeds.

MemSQL was founded last year by former Facebook staffer Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov, who served as a Microsoft SQL Server senior database engineer. To date, the company has attracted $5 million in funding from venture firms and angel investors including First Round Capital, IA Ventures, NEA, Y Combinator and actor Ashton Kutcher.

MemSQL plans to use the funds to bolster its sales and marketing efforts and ramp up technical support as it woos customers from the financial services, digital advertising and telecommunications industries.

With its recent launch, MemSQL joins the hot and highly contested Big Data analytics market. Currently, industry heavyweights Oracle and SAP are battling it out in the in-memory space with their Exalytics and HANA products, respectively. And they have plenty of company. Of late, firms like TeradataOpera Solutions and Tibco have been growing the in-memory analytics market with new offerings.

SQL, Meet In-Memory Analytics

MemSQL blends lock-free data structures and a unique coding translation process to enable fast analytics using traditional SQL database techniques, according to the company. The technology also exploits the performance boost provided by in-memory systems and appliances.

In-memory analytics systems employ huge stores of RAM to overcome the latency and bandwidth constraints of transferring data from disk-based storage. The result is a performance-boosting architecture that allows analytics applications to process huge data sets at faster rates.

MemSQL's approach to integrating SQL data and main memory storage provides a big leap in Big Data processing, says MemSQL CEO Eric Frenkiel. "MemSQL was designed to tackle Big Data problems by increasing an application's throughput 30 times over and still offer SQL," he states in a company release.

And all in a package that delivers a "flat learning curve for MySQL users" and installs using one command, according to the company.

The company also touts the platform's ability to accommodate massive levels of transactional throughput using commodity IT hardware and provide real-time analytics on constantly changing data. Rounding out the benefits are sub-millisecond response times, a distributed and scalable architecture and resiliency features.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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