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February 26, 2014

Dassault Picks NuoDB to Back New Cloud Offerings

Alex Woodie

Upstart NewSQL database vendor NuoDB got a shot in the arm this week when it disclosed a multi-million dollar investment by CAD software developer Dassault Systèmes. The French software giant led the latest $14-million round of venture financing, and will rely on NuoDB’s scale-out relational database technology to power one or more of its upcoming cloud offerings.

Dassault Systèmes is Europe’s second largest software company (behind SAP), and behaves in a conservative manner that befits that stature. Because of this, NuoDB is unable to disclose many of the details of Dassault’s investment, such as the exact amount, how it will be spent, and anything related to what the two companies will actually be doing together.

Needless to say, we do know this: That the work will partnership revolves around utilizing NuoDB’s NewSQL database to power some component Dassault’s cloud-based offerings.

Like many big ISVs, Dassault is trying to make the shift from the on-premise model to the cloud and software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. The €2.0 billion software developer of computer aided design (CAD), product lifecycle management (PLM), and other software tools used in the development and design of products is in the middle of a multi-year effort to remake itself in the cloud model.

In a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Dassault CEO Bernard Charles discussed the company’s new “social industry experience” strategy. “These are not simply words, they are at the heart of how we have designed our 3DEXPERIENCE platform and software processes,” Charles says in a transcript provided by SeekingAlpha. “The world is social, so we have capabilities to enable this with our new user interface, extremely intuitive, with mobile application and with the ability to work on-the-cloud and on-premise, you choose.”

In the last few years, Dassault has ramped up its initiative to fully integrate its PLM and CAD offerings on the Internet. It has completed seven acquisitions–including the purchase of IBM’s PLM division, which brought 700 employees. Dassault has a 29-year partnership with IBM, whose database underlies many Dassault implementations in industries ranging from aerospace and to shipbuilding.

Dassault’s selection of NuoDB validates the company’s approach, says NuoDB CEO Barry Morris. “Dassault did a very substantial and very deep investigation,” he tells Datanami. “They’re very deep technologists. This is not some lightweight choice. They took a very hard look at the product.”

“This investment demonstrates our strong interest and belief in NuoDB’s strategy and technologies for next generation cloud based services,” says Dassault’s senior executive vice president for Products-R&D, Dominique Florack. “NuoDB delivers a lot of the features required to address the market needs in terms of usages in the new world of experiences.”

NuoDB’s capability to scale horizontally like a NoSQL database but offer the SQL access and ACID guarantees of a traditional relational database gives it advantages for software vendors looking to move to the cloud, Morris says.

“It’s a computer science problem that you have to solve. We solved it and we patented it,” he says. “There are various attempts to fake it by using traditional technology and then trying to shard them or put middleware layers on them, or whatever.”

“What I’m saying,” he continues, “is that customers are not going to do things that give them no benefit.  Completely re-architecting an application to use a proprietary query language and then to not have transactional guarantees. Are customers going to do that?”

In addition to Dassault, NuoDB’s existing investors participated in the round, including Morgenthaler Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and Longworth Venture Partners. This latest round is $14.2 million, bringing the total investment in NuoDB to $26.2 million.

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