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Cockroach Labs raises $278M for distributed SQL database

The cloud database vendor has appealed to enterprises with its data capabilities and continues to attract investors as the market opportunity expands.

Cockroach Labs said today it raised $278 million in a series F round of funding to help grow the vendor's technology and go-to-market efforts for its cloud distributed SQL database technology.

Based in New York City, Cockroach Labs has had a busy year. The distributed SQL cloud database vendor started the year with a $160 million series E funding round in January.

The vendor also released two major updates of the database in 2021, bringing a series of new capabilities.

The CockroachDB 21.1 update released in May provided new multi-region support enabling data operations to occur in different geographies around the world. The CockroachDB 21.2 update in November gave users enhanced capabilities for backup and recovery.

Rounding out Cockroach Labs updates in 2021, in October the vendor revealed the beta availability of CockroachDB Serverless as a cloud deployment option.

Opportunity for distributed SQL database in the cloud

Cockroach Labs has been at the forefront of the distributed SQL data platform category, said Matt Aslett, an analyst at Ventana Research.

"Distributed SQL data platforms are designed to combine the benefits of the relational database model and native support for distributed cloud architecture," Aslett said.

Ventana Research has forecast that by 2024, 60% of organizations will reevaluate their existing operational database suppliers with a view toward supporting more agile operational applications and improving fault tolerance.

Aslett noted that Cockroach Labs has been able to attract enterprise customers by providing the resilience and elastic scalability that cloud computing enables.

Screenshot of CockroachDB cloud database
Cockroach Labs cloud database

Not worried about distributed SQL competition

Cockroach Labs co-founder and CEO Spencer Kimball was direct about the vendor's need for more money to grow.

The challenge and the opportunity in our space is to build better [and] build faster, but the product category is just massive.
Spencer KimballCEO and co-founder, Cockroach Labs

"The challenge and the opportunity in our space is to build better [and] build faster, but the product category is just massive," Kimball said. In the enterprise market, he noted, Oracle has long dominated in relational databases, while AWS has taken a strong leadership position in the cloud database sphere.

Kimball emphasized that Cockroach Labs isn't trying to replicate the same technical capabilities Oracle provides, but rather that CockroachDB's focus is enabling a distributed SQL platform built for the cloud.

Looking at AWS, Kimball said Cockroach Labs can both compete and partner with the cloud giant. He noted that Amazon RDS provides a cloud relational database capability, while Amazon Aurora is another cloud database service that provides more relational database features including advanced replication.

But while there are similarities in the capabilities that AWS cloud databases and CockroachDB provide, there are also some key differences. For one, Kimball noted that Aurora only runs in AWS, which can be limiting.

"Some organizations absolutely insist that the data infrastructure that they're going to use has to be multi-cloud," Kimball said. "That's just their strategy and they don't want to get locked into data gravity."

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