Startup pgEdge aims to land distributed Postgres at network's edge

Startup pgEdge aims to land distributed Postgres at network’s edge

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A startup headed by the co-founders of commercial PostgreSQL maker Enterprise DB Corp. is coming out of stealth mode today with $9 million in seed funding and a distributed version of PostgreSQL optimized for edge computing instances.

Alexandria, Va.-based pgEdge Inc.’s Distributed PostgreSQL is based on a multi-active extension to PostgreSQL that enables all nodes on a network to perform both read and write operations. Presentation, compute functions and the database can be deployed at or close to the network edge without changes to application code, the company said, enabling higher availability and lower latency.

The architecture also gives database administrators greater flexibility to manage application workloads and architect for rapid failover. The software is fully open-source and will be available both as a cloud service and as downloadable software for self-hosting.

PostgreSQL is the world’s fourth most popular DBMS in the world, according to SolidIT Consulting & Software Development GMBH’s DB-Engines’ ranking. It’s highly regarded for its scalability and reliability.

PgEdge was founded by Chief Executive Phillip Merrick and Chief Technology Officer Denis Lussier. Merrick is a five-time entrepreneur whose previous startups include email delivery platform SparkPost Inc. and cloud infrastructure management provider Fugue Inc. Lussier was previously product manager for the Postgres Engines Group at Amazon Web Services Inc. and founder and chief architect of the BigSQL distribution of Postgres. The founders said they’ve assembled a team with a combined 155 years of Postgres experience.

Close to the customer

The company said its edge architecture is well-suited for reducing webpage load times by moving database copies closer to users as well as “geo-sharding,” in which data can be kept within defined geographic regions for regulatory purposes while also shared globally. It said the product can be easily accessed from edge platforms like Cloudflare Inc.’s Workers, Fastly Inc.’s Compute@Edge, Vercel Inc.’s platform-as-a-server and similar technologies.

The multi-active architecture allows read and write operations to take place on any database node on the network with a configurable conflict resolution and avoidance extension called Spock that prevents or resolves write conflicts between nodes. Nodes in a pgEdge cluster can span multiple cloud regions and data centers, with each running standard PostgreSQL version 14 or 15,  The source code for Spock and associated tooling is covered by the pgEdge Community License.

“Each pgEdge node runs full Postgres, with the option of configuring more than 20 popular Postgres extensions such as PostGIS and PostgREST,” Merrick said in an email interview. “In most instances Postgres applications can take advantage of the distributed features of pgEdge with little or even no code changes, depending on the underlying schema.”

Open at the core

The company is debuting a week after EnterpriseDB announced the latest version of its EDB Postgres Distributed software with new high-availability features. While acknowledging that pgEdge’s architecture is similar to EDB Postgres Distributed in that both use asynchronous logical replication, “pgEdge Distributed PostgreSQL is 100% open, with all the source code available on Github via a community license,” Merrick said. “This is crucially important for a distributed database so that distributed systems researchers, as well as customers, can examine the source code to understand its behavior and safety characteristics.”

While the company’s PostgreSQL binary distribution will be fully open source, the pgEdge Cloud managed database-as-a-service “includes a graphical UI for drag-and-drop configuration and creation of database clusters (pictured) along with monitoring and certain security features”  that are unique to the cloud, he said.

The software will be available in the second half of this year as a fully managed distributed cloud service with a customized interface that makes it easy to securely configure, provision and monitor a cluster of pgEdge databases running within any of more than 100 zones across AWS, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure and Google LLC’s Cloud Platform.

It’s also currently available in an open beta test as a free download for deployment on-premises or in customer-managed cloud accounts. Enterprise support subscriptions are available.

Financing was led by Sands Capital Management LLC and Grotech Management Co.

Image: pgEdge


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