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November 1, 2018

Rockset, SQL Cloud Service, Emerges from Stealth

George Leopold

(Khakimullin Aleksandr/Shutterstock)

An analytics and search startup launched by former Facebook engineers emerged from stealth mode this week with a cloud service that “runs SQL directly on raw data,” offering developers a quicker path from data to applications.

Rockset also announced a $21.5 million funding round on Thursday (Nov. 1) led by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital.

The startup’s co-founders, Venkat Venkataramani and Dhruba Borthakur, helped build Facebook’s (NASDAQ: FB) online data and search infrastructure. Other Rockset engineers are credited with helping create the Hadoop Filesystem at Yahoo, implementing the Gmail backend infrastructure at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) as well as databases at Oracle (NYSE: ORCL).

“Typical data infrastructures have pipelines resembling Rube Goldberg machines, with a series of specialized tools and databases stitched together,” said Venkataramani, Rockset’s CEO.

The SQL cloud service is designed to help developers and data scientists access raw data residing in datacenters or the cloud to accelerate deployment of data-driven applications and dashboards.

The startup, based in San Mateo, Calif., was founded two years ago on the premise that traditional SQL databases can’t handle the scale of streaming data. Meanwhile, NoSQL systems fall short in supporting complex queries. That has forced developers to use different tools for storage, processing and delivering data. Rockset claims its “fast SQL” cloud service eliminates data pipelines and replaced them with a service designed to accelerate application deployment.

The managed cloud service also eliminates the need to manage servers, shards or indexes.

The platform ingests raw data residing in Apache Kafka, Amazon Kinesis, RDS and Simple Cloud Storage Service, eliminating steps such as data modeling to speed data queries. It also enables “fast SQL” on JSON and other data formats without the need for data preparation.

The approach is based on proprietary technology dubbed “converged indexing” that is supported by the RockDB persistent key-value store.

Investors said the key to Rockset’s approach is providing developers with a framework for building data-driven applications in the cloud. “The future of data is in the cloud, and Rockset is ahead of the market in offering a serverless search and analytics engine that takes advantage of cloud economics,” said Jerry Chen of Greylock Partners.

Advisors to the serverless search and analytics startup include Gaurav Gupta, a former product executive at Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK).

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