Database automation company Datical have closed a series B round of funding of $8 million from existing investors to continue their mission to bring Agile techniques to databases. This brings the total of external funding to about $14 million.
“We weren’t in a position where we needed money,” said CEO Derek Hutson when we spoke about the announcement, “but it does create an opportunity for us when things are going very, very well to be able to expand faster.”
The idea behind the company’s technology sounds simple enough: we have tools for managing application development, from source code control to testing automation through to continuous integration and deployment automation, but where are all the tools for databases?
By database, Datical is referring to the classic relational, SQL style database: Oracle, MySQL, DB2, SQLServer. “That is where a large percentage of our customers are storing their data,” said CTO and co-founder Robert Reeves. He started the company because he had noticed that while companies needed the kind of solution Datical provides, they weren’t using existing open source tools to solve the problem.
Reeves explained that existing tools “just weren’t ready to adopt at a global 2000 company level,” he said. “They were missing some features and functionality, and we saw an opportunity there.”
Datical’s customers, according to Reeves, are struggling with scaling existing practices developed for managing relatively few database instances in on-site deployments when they start to use database in the cloud. Freed of the physical constraints of on-site, developers want to spin up more databases running as cloud instances, and this is stretching the manually intensive work practices of DBAs.
The problem has been less prevalent in cloud so far because of efforts to keep applications stateless. A stateless application can be stopped and started at any time, and there can be many instances of it, because all the state is managed at the database layer somehow. But the data is the important part, and if an application change requires a change to database structure–a new piece of customer information that requires a new column, say–then that change has to be managed.
For new, greenfields applications, this can be easier, but large organisations–such as Datical’s customers–have lots of data already, and most of it sits in relational databases because that’s what we’ve been using for the past several decades. These databases are fiercely protected by a layer of DBAs who tend to their databases like precious children, as far from pets or cattle as one can be.