NorthScale in the Memcached Driver's Seat

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NorthScale in the Memcached Driver's Seat

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Memcached vendors such as NorthScale and Gear6 have driven several technological advances, and experienced significant growth over the last few months.  One of those vendors, NorthScale, just secured $10 million in Series B funding from Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund, and North Bridge Venture Partners.  NorthScale now has a grand total of $15 million in funding along with a new CEO - hired this week.  They also hold the majority share of Memcached core, open source developers.

Bob Wiederhold, the former CEO and president of Transitive Corporation (a virtualization company acquired by IBM in 2008), has now been hired to fulfill the same roles at NorthScale.  The company announced that it would be using the money to continue its investment in NOSQL technologies and marketing efforts.  Wiederhold says that NorthScale is combining the simplicity, speed, and scalability of Memcached with NOSQL persistence, while still complementing RDBMS.  Along with their own flavor of Memcached, they also have a high-performance, distributed key-value database called NorthScale Membase Server.

NorthScale made a name for itself when it handled the explosive growth of Zynga games on Facebook, such as Farmville.  They launched out of stealth mode in March to provide new data management tech for companies that have a lot of transactional, dynamic data.  NorthScale is no slouch when it comes to Memcached.  Their Memcached servers can be deployed in the datacenter or on Amazon's EC2.  The startup has secured a number of developers who have worked on projects like Drizzle and MySQL.  They also have developers who, altogether, created about two-thirds of the open source code for Memcached.  NorthScale co-founder and chief strategist James Phillips told InternetNews.com, "The company was founded by members of the memcached project, and we control that project and the leaders of the project are NorthScale employees."  Phillips later noted that NorthScale does not dictate the direction of the project.

This also means that the company has pledged to contribute its technical advances back into open source Memcached.  The NorthScale Memcached Server is offered for free while NorthScale markets its Membase Server to users of the free software.  NorthScale's Memcached Server includes features that aren't found in 'vanilla' Memcached.  For example, it has a web-based GUI, an installer, and a Windows version that doesn't currently exist in open source Memcached.

NorthScale made the news last month when they helped Heroku implement its first Memcached capabilities.  Gear6 is NorthScale's seasoned competitor in the Memcached space.  Last month, Gear 6 announced their own NoSQL persistence solution based on Redis.


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