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YugabyteDB 2.2 improves open source distributed SQL database

Yugabyte updates its open source database platform that is API compatible with both Apache Cassandra and PostgreSQL with improved scalability capabilities.

Distributed SQL database vendor Yugabyte updated its open source platform with a new release on Wednesday that added enhanced capabilities to improve scalability and performance.

YugabyteDB 2.2 is the second major release of the distributed SQL database in 2020 from the vendor, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the release follows a pair of recent corporate milestones. On May 19, the company publicly introduced its new CEO, Bill Cook, and then followed up on June 9 with a $30 million Series B round of funding.

The update integrates a number of new features including transactional distributed backups that can help to improve the efficiency of data backups. The release also provides an online index build capability that enhances the scalability of database table indexes. YugabyteDB 2.2 also continues to improve on the multi-API compatibility for both the Apache Cassandra and PostgreSQL open source database platforms.

Merv Adrian, a research vice president at Gartner, said providing support for multiple APIs aligns with trends that Gartner is seeing in the database market. He noted that Gartner is seeing more user interest in supporting SQL and stored procedures for geo-distributed transactional database management systems, to engage with data on a global scale. While the market for distributed SQL is competitive, there is opportunity for Yugabyte, Adrian said.

"There is ample opportunity for Yugabyte to attract tire-kickers; they can play in larger companies who want to control their own platform, of course -- and many of them have tried multiple other offerings already," he said.

There is ample opportunity for Yugabyte to attract tire-kickers; they can play in larger companies who want to control their own platform, of course -- and many of them have tried multiple other offerings already.
Merv AdrianResearch vice president, Gartner

As an open source technology, YugabyteDB can be freely deployed by any organization on its own. Yugabyte also offers a managed service that provides multi-cloud support, which can appeal to organizations that otherwise would be looking at one cloud service provider's system, Adrian noted.

Multi-APIs support distributed SQL database deployment

The 1.x release series of Yugabyte in May 2018 started with an API that is compatible with the Apache Cassandra database. The Yugabyte 2.x series that debuted in September 2019 introduced a second API that brings compatibility with PostgreSQL.

The vendor's goal with multi-API support is to give users of Cassandra and PostgreSQL a way to move to a distributed SQL platform that provides more scalability than what they might currently be running, said Karthik Ranganathan, co-founder and CTO of Yugabyte.

"In a distributed SQL system, you have to think a little differently about what network hops exist, how data flows and how much data can be stored in the database as a scalable database," Ranganathan said.

Online index builds boost distributed SQL database capabilities

Among the key new features in YugabyteDB 2.2 are online index builds. With online index builds, the database can build a secondary index, based on the data in the table, while including all the incoming write requests, without the need to first stop the database to create the new index, Ranganathan said.

When developers build applications, they query databases according to various properties. However, an application developer might not know what properties are needed from the database from the start, when building the application and the database back end.

"You don't know what indexes to create because you haven't really built your app or your app evolves over time," Ranganathan said. "So what online index build does is it lets you access the code or query the database efficiently by a different access pattern that you didn't know ahead of time."

The need for online index builds is also important to help support streaming data as well. With streaming data, from Apache Kafka or other event data stream sources, data is continuously coming into a database and developers generally don't want to stop a database to build a new index.

"This feature [online index builds] let you not turn off the incoming pipe but still process everything that has landed in the database," Ranganathan said.

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