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January 28, 2019

Data Startups Continue to Draw Suitors

George Leopold

Leading technology companies continue to snap up big data startups spawned by open-source technologies. The latest example is Microsoft’s deal to acquire open-source database specialist Citus Data.

In a separate deal last week, the big data analytics arm of French aerospace giant Thales (OTCMKTS: THLEF) acquired SQLstream. Guavas, the Thale unit, said the acquisition would provide its industrial Internet of Things and communications service provider customers with a cloud-based streaming analytics capability.

Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) deal to acquire San Francisco-based Citus Data follows the launch last year of its database service for PostgreSQL. “The acquisition of Citus Data builds on Azure’s open source commitment and enables us to provide the massive scalability and performance our customers demand as their workloads grow,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Along with its GitHub acquisition last year, Microsoft has been building up its open-source offerings via its Azure Data Services platform, including open-source databases covering PostgreSQL, MySQL and MariaDB. “This builds on our other open source investments in SQL Server on Linux, a multi-model NoSQL database with Azure Cosmos DB, and support for open source analytics with the Spark and Hadoop ecosystems,” the company said last week.

Citus Data was launched in 2010. “We created Citus to transform PostgreSQL into a distributed database,” Citus Data CEO and co-founder Umur Cubukcu added in a blog post. “We packaged Citus as an open source extension of PostgreSQL” to allow users keep pace with the latest version of Postgres, “unlike all forks of databases prior to it.”

Meanwhile, Guavas said its acquisition of the San Francisco software vendor SQLstream would boost its AI-based analytics platform that emphasizes real-time data analysis across networks. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

SQLstream uses SQL to query big data as it flows through the memory chips of cheap, commodity servers. Among its customers is Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN), which licenses SQLstream’s data collection technology for use within its Kinesis data analytics platform.

The Thales unit said SQLstream’s platform would allow it to extend its focus on growing amounts of data generated by network devices and industrial IoT sensors. The combination would allow “customers to interactively inspect and curate streaming data for analytics at the edge,” the San Jose-based company said in announcing the acquisition.

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