Splice Machine Moving Its Database to Open Source

Splice Machine is seeking contributors, mentors and sponsors to help support its move to take its dual-engine RDBMS open source.

big data

Splice Machine, which makes and markets a Hadoop and Spark powered database, announced it is moving to open source to enhance both adoption of its software as well as the quality of the product.

Using in-memory technology from Spark and scale-out capabilities from Hadoop, the Splice Machine relational database management system (RDBMS) powers new applications and offloads existing Oracle and Teradata databases with 10 to 20 times the performance at one-fourth the cost, said Monte Zweben, co-founder and CEO of Splice machine. The Splice Machine RDBMS runs simultaneous analytical and operational workloads, enabling companies to unlock insights in their big data to make better decisions.

"The reason to open source is clearly a function of today's marketplace in terms of adoption," Zweben told eWEEK. "If you're a proprietary software company, you're going to be adding a lot more friction to the adoption of your software than any open-source project. So to maximize adoption of our platform, we're going to go open source."

However, Zweben notes that the question he asked himself was not whether to go open source, but when. Why now?

"The reason is we're at that critical tipping point where our product is of sufficient stability, performance and quality, where it's okay to broaden the group of people contributing to it and building it," he said.

Zweben noted that moving to an open-source model also is good for customers because open-sourcing provides an insurance policy for large-scale enterprises. That insurance policy means there isn't a single vendor that they might get locked into, and there isn't a single company that might get purchased or change direction. In addition, open-sourcing creates a vibrant community of people with skill sets in the platform that customers can turn to for help and even custom development.

"It's a way to disperse the risk they took in the former model," he said. Moreover, opening up a software product means there will be people looking at it, improving it and fixing bugs. "It just becomes a better, higher-quality, more secure, more performant platform," Zweben added. "It's safety in numbers."

The move to open source will greatly ease the process of adopting the Splice Machine database. Up until now, whenever somebody showed interest and downloaded the stand-alone edition, they'd have to talk to a Splice Machine salesperson to get a cluster version of the system to test it at scale.

"This puts them more in the mainstream for emerging database platforms, as the expectation for developers is that the code is open, and for IT, that there is less chance of vendor lock-in," Tony Baer, principal analyst at Ovum, told eWEEK. "That said, the fact that a product is open source doesn't mean that developers will monkey with the source code—most won't. But the expectation is that the platform is out in the open for those to inspect if they want to."

Splice Machine will offer a free, open-source community edition of its database as well as an enterprise edition. There will be certain features that are only available in the enterprise edition. Those features will be operational features. However, the community edition will not be limited in terms of performance or function.