A team of open source developers, including several former Google engineers, is working on software that will allow companies to ensure that their cloud computing systems will run even if a server or data center goes down. The software known as CockroachDB is based on Google’s Spanner system, which uses thousands of servers to run its online empire. CockroachDB will similarly replicate information across data centers, so online operations will not suffer from outages.
Currently, companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are based on NoSQL databases, which spread out information across data centers. However, sometimes changes made in one database will not occur in the other databases in the system. CockroachDB will solve those consistency issues because each database will act like one machine.
The CockroachDB system will keep companies’ online operations going because if one machine goes down, the data will be available on the other servers. The creators of CockroachDB want to bring that capability to other companies by making the software available open source.
Co-creator Spencer Kimball told Wired, “The name is representative of its two most important qualities: survivability, of course, and the ability to spread to the available hardware in an almost autonomous sense.”
CockroachDB is far from launch, but the team is confident that they can build it without some of the difficulties of Google’s Spanner system. They plan to make it a standalone system that does not rely on a particular file system or system manager. Also, the former Googlers plan to add the SQL query tools of F1 to CockroachDB.
“Kimball says that eventually, if the database is going to catch-on beyond a handful of large companies with the internal resources to manage it, some sort of commercial company will need to provide support for the software,” notes Wired. “But Kimball says it’s still way to early to start thinking about that.”