It sounded funny when startup Orchestrate.io suggested last year that one database could replace many different kinds of databases. But the idea is gaining credence.
Orchestrate, based in Portland, Ore., has accumulated five paying customers, including the first brand-name customer it can name in public without getting the evil eye: Finnish game publisher Rovio, the folks who make Angry Birds.
That company is using Orchestrate’s full-text search feature, which enables searches of games listed on users’ individual accounts.
“It’s something that they would have had to set up their own search cluster for otherwise, and they were able to develop a new feature and prototype it and basically have it ready for production within a couple of hours,” Antony Falco, the cofounder and chief executive of Orchestrate, told VentureBeat.
But Orchestrate does more than just search text. It also provides a key-value store — one type of NoSQL database — as well as an event database for managing data in chronological order and a graph database for showing connections among people, places, or things. And in the near future, Orchestrate will tack on additional capabilities, like support for geospatial data and publish-subscribe messaging for shooting data across multiple devices.
Forget the jargon: That’s an unusually wide set of capabilities for a single company. The early adoption hints at the notion that individual developers at startups or a team building a new feature inside an enterprise could use a simpler way to introduce multiple processes for their data. And broad adoption could challenge vendors providing just one or two pieces of Orchestrate’s single hosted database service.
IBM’s purchase of NoSQL database startup Cloudant last month points to the value of a single flexible tool, as Cloudant could handle geospatial data, full-text search and the popular JSON document format. And MongoDB, which made JSON a hit among developers and also performs full-text search, is in a position to go public this year.
Now Orchestrate is gearing up to take on many customers just like Cloudant and MongoDB. It plans to form partnerships with public clouds, and it will enrich its documentation and provide additional how-to materials to help people start using Orchestrate, said Falco, formerly a cofounder and chief operating officer of Basho Technologies, the company behind the open-source Riak NoSQL database.
The startup is cognizant of users’ fears of getting locked into the service, and it has made the exporting process as simple as clicking a button on the Orchestrate dashboard.
Around 600 people have signed up to use Orchestrate since the startup made its service generally available last month. And the team is finding one type of early adopter: the first-time database user.
“If your database is working for you, we actually say, ‘That’s fine. Don’t change,'” Falco said. “Front-end designers, Ruby programmers, Node programmers — people who haven’t used a lot of databases, they’re coming to us.”
It’s great that Orchestrate has come upon that sweet spot. But like any other database startup worth its weight these days, the big thing is to get into enterprises. That could happen not with wholesale database replacements but with “new initiatives and incremental features, so you don’t have to set up databases,” Falco said.
Orchestrate raised a $3 million seed round last year.
Now the startup charges customers according to how many times they hit the service’s application programming interface (API). The starter tier of service costs $39 per month for 10 million API calls.
“It feels like we’re pretty close to product-market fit, but we’re just going to have to see,” Falco said.