Why is CockroachDB not widely used

Distributed database: Cockroach Labs secures funding for further growth

Cockroach Labs, provider of the distributed, cloud-native SQL database CockroachDB, was able to double both the number of its customers and sales last year, as the company announced in a blog post, without disclosing any specific financial data. In order to be able to continue financing the growth, however, Cockroach Labs secured 160 million US dollars of fresh capital from the investment companies Altimeter Capital, Greenoaks, Lone Pine, Benchmark, BOND, FirstMark, GV, Index Ventures and Tiger Global as part of a new financing round .

Like Cockroach Labs, which is emulating the warehouse-as-a-service provider Snowflake, the investors apparently also trust in a steadily growing demand for modern, flexibly scalable database systems. In the year of the corona pandemic, Cockroach Labs was able to benefit from the trends towards more remote and home office work as well as accelerated digital transformation and was able to win new customers from both start-ups that need highly scalable systems and established companies who wanted their Want to update the data infrastructure and make it more resilient.

CockroachDB, version 1.0 of which appeared in mid-2017, is one of the so-called NewSQL systems that are typically based on a relational data model and use SQL as the query language. Like NoSQL databases, it also meets high requirements in terms of scalability and flexibility. The company, founded in 2015 by former Google employees, chose the name Cockroach to arouse an association with the resilience and stamina of cockroaches in database users. Because the CockroachDB servers also always come in groups, so that the entire (data) inventory is not immediately endangered if a node dies.

Scalable and resilient

CockroachDB competes primarily with comparable offers such as Google Cloud Spanner, on whose open source project the database is also based. It strictly supports ACID transactions (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability) and, as a distributed SQL database, builds on a transactional and consistent key-value store, for which the developers at Cockroach Labs rely on RocksDB. CockroachDB also wants to score points, unlike many competitors, by being independent of the large cloud providers. Since autumn 2019, the company has been offering its own managed cloud service CockroachDB as a Service, which users can use on different platforms such as AWS or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

According to Cockroach Labs, this DBaaS is so popular among the company's new customers that more than half of all CockroachDB users now work with it. As industry experts point out, however, the NewSQL database is primarily suitable for use in new projects or applications that require extensive adaptation, while MariaDB SkySQL, for example, can also port decades-old compatible applications to the cloud more easily.

Hybrid license model instead of open source

From the point of view of developers, it is also important to keep an eye on the license policy of Cockroach Labs. While the database was originally freely available under the Apache 2.0 license, the Business Source License (BSL) has been in effect since mid-2019. It prohibits the commercial distribution of a CockroachDB as a Service without a license that is subject to a fee. In doing so, Cockroach Labs is following the example of other database providers - including Redis, MongoDB, Confluent and MariaDB - who want to protect their open source applications from what they believe to be misuse by cloud service providers. Since then, the core edition of CockroachDB is no longer an OSS in the sense of the OSI definition, but the source code is still freely available and the database can still be used free of charge in many fields of application with an unlimited number of nodes.


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