MemSQL distributes its database across data centers, takes In-Q-Tel investment

High-flying database startup MemSQL announced version 3.0 of its in-memory relational database technology on Wednesday, as well as an investment from the CIA-backed intelligence-community venture firm In-Q-Tel.

The biggest feature in the new release is cross-data-center replication, which the company said lets users maintain a backup copy of their database and also distribute the load for read-heavy workloads. Disaster recovery is a big deal, of course, but being able to distribute load across two locations is possibly more useful. If you’re already buying an in-memory database to increase performance, why risk additional latency via long network trips or heavy usage of the primary database?

From a features perspective, MemSQL has been restless since launching in 2012. What began as a single-node in-memory database based on some Facebook engineering tricks quickly became a distributed database. The company has added support for JSON documents, as well, and even complemented its row-based store with a columnar store optimized for flash. MemSQL is calling this entire package of capabilities HTAP, which short for Hybrid Transactional/Analytic Processing.

The MemSQL marketecture. Source: MemSQL

The MemSQL marketecture. Source: MemSQL

The investment of an undisclosed amount of capital from In-Q-Tel is none too surprising given its track record of backing database and analytics companies over the past few years, especially those that have already raised some serious money from Silicon Valley firms. Prior to this new money, MemSQL had raised more $45 million in two rounds, from a long list of big-names including Accel Partners, Khosla Ventures and Ashton Kutcher.

Previous In-Q-Tel investments include Cloudera, Palantir, Platfora and MongoDB.

You can watch MemSQL Co-founder and CEO Eric Frenkiel give a 5-minute explanation of the company’s technology in this video produced as part of our Structure 2013 conference.