SurrealDB Keeps it Real with Serverless Cloud Database Launch

London-based tech startup SurrealDB emerges to offer an SQL-style query language, real-time queries with data retrieval and security permissions for multi-tenant access.

London-based tech startup SurrealDB is all about the “next generation” as it has unleashed its serverless cloud database for applications .

The company offers an SQL-style query language, real-time queries with data retrieval, security permissions for multi-tenant access and support for performant analytical workloads. It’s at the beta launch stage right now and the product is aimed at developers and data scientists.

The startup explains: “SurrealDB doesn’t force you into setting up your data model in any one way. Instead you can choose between simple documents, documents with embedded fields, or related graph connections between records. Use schemafull or schemaless tables giving you the flexibility to store whatever you need.

“Once stored in SurrealDB, all data is strongly typed, with the ability to convert between different types seamlessly – and numbers can be stored and computed with 64 bit precision or as arbitrary length decimals.”

SurrealDB was founded by the Morgan Hitchcock brothers – Jaime (COO) and Tobie (CEO). They’ve also co-founded digital asset management system Brandsafe; recruitment platform Hire Insight; e-commerce store and marketplace Wisque; and Abcum, a holding company for early-stage ventures.

The brothers tell eWeek UK: “SurrealDB was built due to a frustration with traditional API development and database technologies. While building a number of B2B SaaS tools we were working with multiple databases (InfluxDB, DynamoDB, OrientDB, MySQL), sitting behind an advanced API layer. In addition to complicated backend development, the management of the database layers and API layers was time-consuming and costly.”

Its idea is to consolidate all of the different databases and the API code into one platform, and be configurable for each product.

The startup hasn’t received funding yet, but it is “in the process of raising”.

SurrealDB will be releasing its product roadmap this week which details everything built so far, and everything planned for the future.

By the way, the choice of the name ‘Surreal’ has connotations with “fantastic” and “unbelievable”.

The NewSQL database offers a variety of other features. These include distributed ACID transactions (i.e. ones that modify multiple rows in more than one shard); structured and unstructured data; and online and offline data synchronisation.

The startup explains that the primary method of querying SurrealDB is using SurrealQL, a similar but modified version of traditional SQL.

SurrealQL enables linked documents to be traversed and queried, while still using an imperative language which remains “understandable by data scientists”.

Permissions are in-built from the ground up, and SurrealDB offers support for SSL/TLS, Single-Sign-On, external third party authentication, JWT token based authentication and custom business authentication logic.

SurrealDB builds and maintains first-party database clients for a number of languages including Javascript, Typescript, Node.js, Deno, Rust and Golang.

NewSQL Analysed

As Webopedia explains, NewSQL was created in 2011 for online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads while maintaining atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability (ACID – as mentioned above).

NewSQL databases are intended for companies that handle high-profile data and need more scalability and consistency than NoSQL can provide.

Some of the advantages of NewSQL are richer analytics using SQL and extensions; and that many systems offer a cluster of shared-nothing nodes, allowing each node to manage a subset of data.

However, the disadvantages are that they are not as general purpose as traditional SQL systems; and they only offer partial access to rich tooling of traditional SQL systems.

Other NewSQL databases on the market include VoltDB, Apache Trafodion, ClustrixDB, CockroachDB, SingleStore (formerly MemSQL), NuoDB and TIBCO ActiveSpaces.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK and has 17 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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