Rockset reaches for low-code to broaden appeal of its real-time analytics database

DBMS for dummies

Rockset, the company behind the indexing-obsessed database of the same name, has confirmed integration with Retool, a low-code platform with the aim of helping businesses build data-hungry internal applications.…

Rockset, the company behind the indexing-obsessed database of the same name, has confirmed integration with Retool, a low-code platform with the aim of helping businesses build data-hungry internal applications.

The company imagines the tie up will help developers build internal tools for customer support, marketing operations, customer 360, fraud investigation, and logistics monitoring in a point and a click, avoiding the developer bottleneck for inter applications.

“Typically, these kinds of projects get queued up behind the technical team and they might never see the light of day because there are always priorities other than building some internal tool,” Rockset founder and CEO Venkat Venkataramani told The Register.

Backed by venture capital firms Greylock and Sequoia, Rockset has built a proprietary document-store database that embeds value-key database RocksDB, an open-source system used by Facebook, Yahoo!, and LinkedIn.

The idea is to ingest data quickly, like a schema-less NoSQL database, but at the same time index data so it can be queried by SQL, a process the company calls converged indexing. The result, Rockset says, lets companies run analytics on near real-time data.

By building applications in a low-code environment, Rockset wants to tagret a broader set of users.

“Our real-time indexing database competes with ElasticSearch or Apache Druid,” said Venkataramani, a veteran of Facebook and Oracle. “These are the real-time analytics and real-time applications that Rockset has built from the ground up to accelerate. It comes down to the speed at which your questions come back from the database, out of the box.”

Applications designed to track online ad campaigns would not keep under-pressure users waiting for so long before they can make decisions, he said.

Andy Pavlo, associate professor of databaseology at Carnegie Mellon University, said using low-code to get users onboard may be a sign Rockset was having trouble “getting traction with their DB in the marketplace”.

“My guess is that their potential customers don’t know how to think about a real-time indexing DBMS in their application stacks. So they made a tool to make it easier to build new apps on their DBMS,” he said.

Carl Olofson, IDC research vice president for data management software, said Rockset “scratches a real itch in the market”.

“When developers build applications that use non-schematic databases like DynamoDB or MongoDB, they don’t think at all about query and reporting; they are concerned with making their applications work, perform well, and with adapting them quickly when needed. They do that job well, but are hard to query because the user needs to search through and find the things to report,” he said.

He added that it seemed like Rockset was automating the building of indexes and quasi-schematic structures that enable users to run queries and reports on such data much more easily. “If it works well and is easy to use, it should be a real boon to users,” he said. ®

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