Distributed database provider pgEdge emerges from stealth with $9M

Alexandria, Virginia-headquartered pgEdge, a startup that claims to provide a fully distributed database for use in the cloud and at the network edge, today emerged from stealth with $9 million in seed funding. It plans to use the capital to expand its team and streamline its database-as-a-service (DBaaS) product offering.

Today, developers are racing to adopt distributed application architectures and place more components at or near the edge of the network. Companies like Cloudflare, Akamai, Fastly and others have started handling compute closer to the user. For its part, pgEdge is looking to promote its distributed database as optimized for use at or near the network edge while supporting PostgreSQL, an established and increasingly popular open-source database. 

How does this offering help?

According to Phillip Merrick, pgEdge cofounder and CEO, most applications today use a relational database and keep just a single read/write copy of it in a single data center or cloud region. This can leave users who are not close to that location struggling with data latency — and long web app load times. 

He described pgEdge as a multi-active distributed implementation of Postgres that makes it possible to place multiple read/write copies of the database closer to application users. It uses asynchronous logical replication with configurable conflict resolution to keep multiple active databases in sync with each other. 

This, Merrick says, minimizes latency and ensures that all users get fast load times. Plus, with multiple copies, teams get a high level of fault tolerance and can redirect traffic to another functioning node in the event of a failure.

Merrick and Denis Lussier, pgEdge cofounder and CTO, first joined forces at EnterpriseDB in the early 2000s. That company has been an important player in bringing open-source technology forward.

Merrick said that, while distributed database capabilities were of interest even then, the idea behind EnterpriseDB was to bring capabilities to open-source Postgres that made it more appealing to larger enterprises. At the time, that meant adding Oracle compatibility. “It seemed too early for fully distributed databases,” he said.

“Fast forward to mid-2022, with industry developments like the emergence of full-fledged edge computing platforms. It was time to revisit ‘Door Number 2,’” he said. Door Number 2 is distributed Postgres, in the form of pgEdge.

Currently, the company has two offerings for pgEdge-distributed PostgreSQL databases. One is a fully-managed distributed DBaaS (available in a limited private beta program) that includes an interface to securely configure, provision and monitor a cluster of pgEdge databases running in any of over 100 zones across AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. The other is a downloadable platform for self-hosting either on-premises or in the cloud, for organizations that need or prefer to self-host their database software. It can be deployed on-premises or in customer-managed cloud accounts on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. 

Notably, the replication capabilities of both offerings are configurable at the table or row level, which can help teams manage data residency challenges.

Not the only distributed database

While the offering from pgEdge can drive faster load time, it’s important to note that it’s not the only player working to provide a distributed database. CockroachDB and Yugabyte offer similar solutions. However, pgEdge claims those offerings are not based on Postgres itself.   

“By being based fully on standard Postgres, pgEdge allows customers to easily make their existing Postgres applications fully distributed and ‘edge capable,’ usually without any application code changes. They can also leverage the tools and expertise available for the world’s most popular open-source database,” Merrick noted.

With this round of funding, led by Sands Capital Ventures and Grotech Ventures, the company plans to grow its engineering, sales and customer success teams. It also plans to invest in further developing the ease of use of its pgEdge Cloud database-as-a-service offering. 

When using the product as an early customer, Bill Mitchell, CTO of media analytics company PublicRelay, was able to reduce page load times between the U.S. and Europe, significantly improving the user experience for his international staff and customers.

“We have been using pgEdge for a few months now, and I am very impressed with its performance and stability,” he said. “Having their multi-master replication feature has allowed me to easily manage and scale my PostgreSQL databases without any issues. The product is easy to manage and that has saved me a lot of time and effort.”

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