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1/4/2011
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Cloud Database Maker Clustrix Gets $12 Million Investment

The firm has now raised $30 million in venture capital to expand development of its fully relational NoSQL database and appliance products.

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Clustrix, the maker of a clustered, key-value store system used by large Web applications, received an additional $12 million in venture capital in B round funding, bringing its total so far to $30 million. The company sells database software embedded on industry-standard hardware as a scalable database appliance.

Investors were U.S. Venture Partners, Sequoia capital, and ATA Ventures. Clustrix in San Francisco is using the money to expand product development, marketing, and sales.

Sequoia was an investor in Isilon, a storage technology builder, and Paul Mikesell, founder and CEO of Clustrix, is the former co-founder and chief architect of Isilon. "Isilon's technology is still more scalable than any other storage vendor's today, and their current $2.25 billion valuation is no surprise to us," said Greg McAdoo, Sequoia Capital partner, in Clustrix's announcement Dec. 15.

The Clustrix Sierra product is one of a number of so-called NoSQL systems attracting investor attention. Clustrix, unlike Cassandra or CouchDB, can execute transactions and has full relational database functionality with immediate data consistency. Most NoSQL systems tend to concentrate on scalability and depend on eventual data consistency rather than guaranteed, constant consistency. With eventual consistency, the same query from two different parties may yield slightly different results for a brief period until the database catches up with the update load.

As the Clustrix Series 4000 appliance was launched in May, Mikesell said: "We see this whole NoSQL movement as a reaction to the lack of scalability in these (traditional relational) systems." But the answer is not to turn away from traditional database systems but rather add scalable data handling capabilities to an SQL-compatible system.

At the heart of the appliance is a Sierra Clustered Database Engine that understands it is operating in a multi-node environment and parcels out work according to the data stored on each node. The Clustrix Series has MySQL-compatible features built into it so that it may work with existing MySQL applications on a more scalable basis. It supports existing MySQL connectors.

The CLX 4010 appliance includes three processor nodes in a rack and a high-speed Ethernet switch and interconnect between nodes. Additional nodes may be added to the rack, making the appliance expandable. Each node includes a processor with 32 GB of RAM and seven 160-GB solid state drives, capable of delivering data at speeds rivaling the RAM. A new node is operative once its ports have been connected and it's been given an IP address. A system manager clicks the "Expand" button on a management console to complete the addition.

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