NEA and Big Data: Aerospike

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  • August 27, 2012

NEA has always sought to invest in disruptive companies that anticipate and address new market needs, and the explosion of data in various parts of the enterprise has been an important focus in recent years, as exemplified by our investments in Data Domain (acquired by EMC), Fusion IO (FIO), and Vertica (acquired by HP). Most recently we’ve looked beyond the sheer volume of data to the actual velocity of use of that data, which has led us to invest in companies like 10gen/MongoDB, MapR, and WibiData.

Today, we are excited to announce our investment in one of big data’s best kept secrets, Aerospike. If you have used the web today on any of your devices, you’ve most likely seen content targeted to you based on Aerospike’s technology. Mobile devices and applications are generating huge volumes of data, and enterprises must capture and mine it all to attain a true competitive advantage. Aerospike helps enterprises gain that advantage with its blazing fast NoSQL key-value store database that is purpose-built for developers to deploy real-time big data applications. With Aerospike, these applications can process terabytes of timely and relevant data to make better decisions faster.

The company’s focus on real-time transaction processing positions it uniquely within our big data portfolio, and is also complementary to our increasing investment focus on digital advertising and online commerce. Aerospike’s flagship customers today are in the most demanding markets for real-time transaction processing, where they store hundreds of millions of user profiles, process hundreds of thousands of interactions per second, and must make decisions in mere milliseconds. These customers rave about Aerospike’s performance and reliability. In fact, every developer we talked to had already either attempted to build a solution in-house or had tried every other NoSQL option out there and nothing had worked – until they tried Aerospike.

Early on, Aerospike made two strategic, architectural decisions that are paying huge dividends. One, they made this database fly on flash – SSDs. You can run Aerospike as an in-memory database or as a persistent, reliable fast cache – in fact, many customers are replacing Memcached/ MySQL with Aerospike. Customers are able to get predictable performance that is almost as fast as an in-memory solution and costs 10x less. The second architectural decision was to build a transparent, elastic, self-managing scale-out layer. Even more than hardware costs, availability and management costs limit web-scale business, and automating previously manual operating aspects of scale out delivers great economics to customers.

Advertising companies are early adopters, and gaming, online retailers, and top online properties are coming on board fast. Aerospike has solved a very hard problem—the speed at scale problem—and, as a result, has built a very passionate customer base in a very short period of time. We think they’re ahead of the curve on this, and we’re excited to partner with Aerospike as they shift into high gear for the company’s next stage of growth.