Xkoto’s Database Virtualization Expands Cloud Opportunities

Xkoto, the database virtualization pioneer, has generated substantial interest since its first deployments in 2006. Still privately held and in investment mode, Xkoto sees profitability on the horizon, but offers no target date, and appears in no hurry. Its progress has been steady: in early 2008, a B round of financing led by GrandBanks Capital allowed a step up to 50 employees as the company crossed the 50 customer mark. 2008 also saw Xkoto adding support for Microsoft SQL Server to its IBM DB2 base. Charlie Ungashick, VP of marketing for Xkoto, says that 2009 has been going well, and the third quarter was quite strong. And at the end of September 2009, Xkoto announced GRIDSCALE version 5.1, which adds new cluster management capabilities to its active-active configuration model, as well as Amazon EC2 availability. Read more of this post

Dataupia – Optimism for 2009

I recently had the chance to chat with John O’Brien, CTO and co-founder of MPP data warehouse appliance vendor Dataupia (pronounced like “utopia”). He was in an upbeat mood, as the company leverages the recent addition to its B round of financing secured late last year to drive business to the next level. With a new CEO (former Cognos senior vice president of world operations Tony Sirianni), a growing number of references, prospects turning into customers, and OEM partners supplementing its growing direct sales force, prospects appear good. Now fielding some 60 employees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dataupia can press their value proposition of being “well matched to prospects’ needs for lower price, flexibility, and minimal execution costs for changing or supplementing existing architectures.”

Dataupia is climbing the scale lists – its largest install is 150 TB at Subex, hosting an OSS system for British Telecom. Marketing VP Samantha Stone has begun to push out press releases touting customer wins, always an encouraging sign. The wins in telecom are being supplemented by opportunities in other spaces such as the intriguing traffic information analysis system at ITIS (details on the company’s web site). New solution categories highlight the emerging opportunities that follow an economic change like the one appliances are driving. “We’ve taken another zero off the cost,” says O’Brien. “Now it’s a matter of only a few tens of thousands to get started on applications that seemed out of reach before for many firms.”

O’Brien believes that a key differentiator is that customers don’t connect to Dataupia directly, but through their primary platform: Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and now IBM DB2 (although no production references for the latter are available yet.) “When customers hit a pain point, architecture is a constraint for other DBMSs. We appear to be a data store for that database, so the style of application design and usage doesn’t need to change.” Dataupia can use transactional tables from the primary DBMS  – their optimizers sit atop its added one.  Multidimensional aggregates can replace materialized views. So, “agility” becomes a key message. Teardown and reconfiguration are easier, hence faster and cheaper. Less DBA optimization time and quick install are powerful value propositions.

To get to the next level, Dataupia will have to add some features: replication, disaster recovery and internationalization top customer wish lists. As Dataupia turns its sights from getting early reference customers to using its improving finances to drive growth, its more formalized structure and sales processes should help it move towards another financing round as the economy turns upward next year. Then, O’Brien asserts, the firm will aspire to much more rapid expansion.