FathomDB: Database as a service, in the cloud

A lot of people are into the whole cloud computing scenario these days. However, no one has talked about offering DBA-like services in the cloud, all automated, so that startups don’t have to get their own DBAs.

Enter FathomDB. They are poised to offer databases as a service (maybe they’ll charge per database – so you can in theory run both WordPress and Mediawiki, if you prefix wp_ and mw_ in your table creation, for example). They are using MySQL. They’ve also taken the worry of running a database out – they will backup, they will setup (so you don’t have to issue GRANT commands :P), and they will also monitor your databases for you.

But what really takes the cake? The fact that they will also offer performance advisors. This totally reminds me of the MySQL Enterprise Monitor (aka Merlin), offered in the cloud, with advisors.

No word if they’re actually running Merlin, or what kind of MySQL builds they’re running. They have a FAQ that I suggest you read, pricing has not been released, but I think this stuff is totally cool and has a future. I mean, you can run your database using their services and EC2, and if you need to do load balancing (Proxy, anyone?), or replication, they’ll set it up for you.

Its going to be real useful for startups, that are already embracing the cloud and going the EC2 way. This is just yet another service, they’ll probably pay for. Because scaling your database, sometimes, isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Can’t wait for a beta invite. If I get one, I’ll give it a twirl and tell you how it went.

Note: This is a Y Combinator company, I first read about this in TechCrunch, and apparently, there was some mention of this during their cloud event last week, where Lew Tucker, Sun’s VP and CTO of Sun’s cloud computing initiative was at. I however don’t know anymore than what I’ve seen online, and lack any other insider knowledge.


  1. Mark Callaghan says:

    How does the GPL apply for database as a service? Do I have to publish my code or changes to MySQL if I am selling hosted MySQL on my private grid? Or on EC2?

  2. byte says:

    Hi Mark!

    If you make a change to MySQL, and selling it on your grid, or on EC2, I don’t see why you should be publishing your code or changes under the GPL.

    I believe that you only need to publish the source changes, when you start distributing binaries. Which you won’t be doing. You’ll be selling a service, access to the binaries (via a connector, even).

    That’s my interpretation of it. IANAL though.