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EdgeDB wants to modernize databases

EdgeDB is an open-source database co-founded by Yury Selivanov with Elvis Pranskevichus in 2019. It is one of the solutions to the legacy database problem. EdgeDB’s open-source architecture is relational. But it’s engineered to solve some fundamental design flaws. Flaws that make working with databases, both relational and NoSQL, unnecessarily inconvenient for enterprises.

Databases and their adaptability in the business world

Database these days is essential for doing correct business in the digital world. However, not every organization is doing great with them in terms of success. In a 2019 Vanson Bourne survey, enterprises said that they’ve been held back by legacy database technologies. Specifically relational databases systems. Relational databases weren’t designed with newer apps or the cloud in mind. Thus, it makes them sometimes difficult to adapt and work with. According to the survey, 72% of companies believe their reliance on relational databases is limiting them. It limits their ability to implement digital transformation projects. The reliance includes architectures built around them.

Welcoming alternatives

Unsurprisingly, companies are increasingly embracing alternatives to relational databases, like NoSQL. Driven by a lack of scalability with legacy solutions, they’re looking for modern systems. This includes cloud-based systems that support scaling while reducing costs and accelerating development.

The database industry is facing a major shift to a new business model. It’s clear that there is a long tail of small- and medium-sized businesses that need to build software fast and then host their data in the cloud, preferably in a convenient and economical way.

Yury Selivanov, CEO of EdgeDB

“EdgeDB has a very ambitious goal: re-imagine relational databases with a focus on developer experience,” Selivanov said. “We’re quite unique at that. While most database companies are concerned with scalability, we want to make actual developers vastly more productive when they build with EdgeDB compared to when they build with any other database, be it SQL or NoSQL.”

Making of EdgeDB

Selivanov and Pranskevichus drew from their experiences at MagicStack while launching EdgeDB. MagicStack is a Toronto, Canada-based software consultancy that they helped to co-found in 2008. In 2016, after observing the database hurdles that many of MagicStack’s clients were facing, Selivanov says that he and Pranskevichus realized the path forward was to become a product company.

Version 1.0 of EdgeDB quietly launched in February and brought with it an integrated access control system and a query language, EdgeQL. Selivanov claims that EdgeQL is 10 to 1,000 times faster than traditional SQL (depending on the operation). Currently in the works is EdgeDB 2.0, which will introduce a database visualization UI and experimental support for WebAssembly. WebAssembly is the open standard for running binary programs in web browsers.

Future plans and aims od EdgeDB

EdgeDB aims to make money with a managed service built on top of its GitHub-hosted codebase. The forthcoming EdgeDB Cloud will offer a “rich” graphical UI and support for terminal commands to create a cloud database instance, Selivanov says, as well as integration with the frontend web app development stack Vercel.

“Our cloud database will track slow queries and suggest how to optimize the database layout or the queries. It will offer built-in performance tracing and turnkey integration with services like DataDog,” Selivanov added. “We don’t yet have any machine learning-related functionality, but we are thinking about potentially building some data science capabilities directly in our database … We don’t have any concrete plans at this point, but this is an intriguing future vertical for us.”

EdgeDB remains pre-revenue, but Selivanov expects the company to start generating cash in Q4 2022, the tentative launch window for the premium EdgeDB Cloud. To date, 10-employee, San Francisco, California-headquartered EdgeDB has raised $4 million from Accel and angel investors including Greg Brockman, a co-founder and the CTO of OpenAI.

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