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Introducing the CockroachDB Cloud Service

While the name might not be the most striking, CockroachDB, a brand new project from former Google engineers and various open source specialists, is already attracting attention around the IT industry for its ease-of-use, adaptability and resiliency -- all traits which help to liken the system to its namesake.

Spencer Kimball, co-creator of the new database architecture, explained their reasoning behind the name. He was quoted as saying: "The name is representative of its two most important qualities: survivability, of course, and the ability to spread to the available hardware in an almost autonomous sense.” He continued in defense of the name by stating: “It’s well proven that people remember things better when there’s a strong positive or negative emotional context,” he says. “I’d love to find a name with a super-strong gut punch positive emotional context that you can remember, but I couldn’t find one. ‘RainbowDB’ sounds pretty lame.”

What is CockroachDB?

To put it simply, CockroachDB is meant to provide a streamlined, secure and automated replication process across multiple datacenters simultaneously, thereby ensuring business continuity via redundant backups stored at separate remote locations. If one server crash or datacenter outage occurs, enterprises will still be able to maintain operations through another.
Now programming a brand new database architecture that can achieve this is no small feat to accomplish, but the team with CockroachDB is receiving a little assistance in the way of Spanner; a Google-created software package that is meant for distributing big data amongst various servers and datacenters around the world.

What Is Spanner?

Spanner, a project which took the Google engineering team five years to complete, facilitates big data storage and distribution on behalf of Google's extensive network of machines. Because most networks don't require the amount of computational power that Google does, however, the developers with CockroachDB only need to implement certain parts of the Spanner technology into their new database framework.

Moreover, Spanner itself is a spin-off from another Google database technology, BigTable. Originally announced in 2006, BigTable was integrated into technologies that are used to operate sites like Twitter, Facebook and even Netflix, just to name a few. BigTable was also one of the key contributors to starting the "NoSQL" revolution, which has proven to be a more efficient way of distributing data across multiple machines. The problem with the NoSQL architecture, however, is the fact that it isn't able to maintain consistency across multiple servers or datacenters. Spanner was Google's answer to the problem of consistency, and it is the exact problem that CockroachDB hopes to tackle when it is finally complete and ready for public consumption.

Initial Development

Although CockroachDB is still in its alpha phase of development, the software has a very experienced team of developers behind it. In fact, Spencer Kimball isn't even the only team member who has worked with Google in the past. Peter Mattis, Ben Darnell and Andy Bonventre, all of whom are amongst the developers of CockroachDB, have worked on various projects with Google in the past.


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