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Microsoft Adds PostgreSQL Scalability Solution with Citus Data Purchase

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it bought San Francisco-based Citus Data, a provider of an extension that scales out the open source PostgreSQL relational database management system in datacenters.

Citus Data makes an enterprise-grade software product that lets PostgreSQL function as a "distributed database," where data get distributed across nodes in a cluster in a "database sharding" approach. It's designed to help address increased service demands, allowing SQL queries to run in parallel. The product gets tested across more than 100 nodes, processing petabyte-scale workloads, according to a Citus Data FAQ describing the product's capabilities.

The extension might be used by providers of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications housed in multitenant (cloud) infrastructures or companies running Web analytics, especially when they need to scale out their operations. The extension can be run on-premises or in a public cloud. Citus Data also has a Database-as-a-Service offering that it manages.

With Microsoft's acquisition of Citus Data, it seems that the Citus Data team will continue building its distributed database extension for PostgreSQL. At least, that idea seemed to be expressed in a blog post by Citus Data's founders regarding the acquisition:

We remain as committed to our customers as ever, and will continue providing the strong support for the products our customers use today. And we will continue to actively participate in the Postgres community, working on the Citus open source extension as well as the other open source Postgres extensions you love.

Citus Data was founded in 2011, offering an alternative to the Hadoop and NoSQL approaches, while also offering a means for scalability, according to the Citus Data blog post.

Microsoft already supports PostgreSQL in its public cloud with its Azure Database for PostgreSQL offering. The Citus Data addition will improve that offering versus the offerings of other public cloud service providers. It also seems that Microsoft may offer the Citus Data extension product to other PostgreSQL users besides its Azure tenants.

"With Citus Data technology, Microsoft will be able to offer customers unparalleled performance and scale for their PostgreSQL databases on top of the innovative, intelligent and secure Azure Database for PostgreSQL," said Sudhakar Sannakkayala, general manager for Azure data at Microsoft, in this Azure blog post.

Sannakkayala noted that Microsoft has been seeing a growing use of open source relational databases on Azure requiring high throughput and low latency for queries. Various industry segments have those requirements, which are needed to support "mission-critical application patterns ranging from complex analytical applications for digital marketing to machine learning-based IoT applications." 

Microsoft considers PostgreSQL to be "one of the fastest growing open source relational database engines" supported by enterprise developers, according to Sannakkayala.

Microsoft didn't disclose its purchase terms, or if any sort of Citus Data reorganization is planned.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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