Tech Startup SurrealDB Goes Live with Serverless Cloud Database

London-based startup offers an SQL-style query language, real-time queries with data retrieval, security permissions for multi-tenant access and support for performant analytical workloads. 

The dream is alive as SurrealDB has revealed its serverless cloud database for applications is now live with an open beta.

As reported in a scoop last year, London-based startup SurrealDB appeared on the tech scene to offer an SQL-style query language, real-time queries with data retrieval, security permissions for multi-tenant access and support for performant analytical workloads.

In the latest development, the company says SurrealDB 1.0-beta is now available. The first beta version includes the ability to run in-memory or in a scalable distributed environment.

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.

Jaime Morgan Hitchcock comments: “After years of building cloud-based SaaS systems, with real-time APIs, complicated security permissions, and multiple separate database backends, in 2015 my brother and I started conceptualising and planning a new database platform for building and scaling applications more quickly, while still allowing for the storage and querying of data in a structured yet flexible manner. The result was SurrealDB.”

The two brothers took inspiration from a range of databases including MySQL, OrientDB, CouchDB, InfluxDB, DynamoDB, MongoDB, RethinkDB, CockroachDB, Neo4j and Firebase.

SurrealDB was built using Golang. In 2021 the firm made the decision to open source SurrealDB, making it available to other developers and organisations in a private beta.

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Jaime Morgan Hitchcock adds: “The decision was made to re-build using Rust, in order to enforce data-sharing guarantees.”

He points out that Tobie Morgan Hitchcock built this “entirely from scratch, on his own”.

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.

The firm is making progress as it has been selected for Mercury’s ‘Raise Seed VII’ along with 51 other startups. US-based Mercury, a “banking stack for startups”, says these finalists will have the opportunity for their pitches to be reviewed by peers, as well as to have discussions on topics like investor relations, fundraising tools and more.

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

Interested in databases? Check out the Database Administration Super Bundle training in TechRepublic Academy.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 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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