Cloud-native streaming database startup RisingWave Labs Ltd. said today it has closed on a $36 million round of funding that brings its total amount raised to date to more than $40 million.

Today’s round was led by Yunqui Partners, the investment arm of a leading global gaming company and included the participation of several unnamed angel investors.

RisingWave Labs is attracting money because it’s on a mission to democratize a data stream processing technology that until now has been available to only a select few organizations. Stream processing is a data management technique that involves ingesting a continuous stream of data to quickly analyze, filter, transform or enhance the information in real time. Once processed, the data is sent to an application, data store or another stream processing engine.

Stream processing services and architectures are growing in popularity because they allow enterprises to combine data from various sources. Sources can include transactions, stock feeds, website analytics, connected devices, operational databases, weather reports and other commercial services. Stream processing is used to power services such as real-time analytics and alerts, internet of things device tracking, user activity monitoring and online application data serving.

As powerful as stream processing is, it has never been that accessible due to the complexity and high costs of implementing the technology. One problem is that stream processing systems often require users to learn a set of platform-specific programming interfaces to be able to manipulate streaming data. That means they’re inaccessible to nontechnical users.

Worse yet, streaming systems also represent data in a different way to traditional, Structured Query Language-based databases. As such, users often have to write complicated data extraction logic to move data from streaming systems to databases.

Stream processing systems are also notoriously expensive to operate, despite being open-source. The issue is that streaming workloads can fluctuate wildly as a result of usage demand spikes, leading to runaway costs.

These are the challenges RisingWave Labs is hoping to tackle with its cloud-native streaming database, which aims to “democratize” stream processing among the masses. RisingWave founder and Chief Executive Yingjun Wu argues that stream processing has vastly more potential than the older batch processing technologies that many companies still rely on, if only it can be made accessible.

To that end, RisingWave has created its namesake, open-source, distributed streaming database that uses standard SQL as its interactive interface. It speaks in PostgreSQL, treats streams as tables and enables users to compose complex queries on their streaming data elegantly and declaratively. In other words, users can access the system without needing to learn Java or a system-specific programming interface.

Moreover, RisingWave’s cloud-native architecture means it can leverage the elastic resources of cloud providers. It’s offered as a fully managed service, meaning it can be deployed, maintained and scaled automatically. It’s also serverlesss, meaning users only pay for the resources they use.

“Companies are adopting streaming systems to support real-time applications at a rapid clip,” Wu said in a statement. “Existing open-source systems are very costly to deploy, maintain, and use in the modern cloud environment. Our goal is not to build yet another streaming system that is 10X faster than existing systems, but to deliver a simple and cost-effective system that allows everyone to benefit from stream processing.”

Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said it’s well understood that most enterprises – big and small – can benefit from the simplification of complex architectures and developer constructs. “Through simplification, it becomes easier to adopt these technologies and achieve what matters most, namely enterprise acceleration through software,” Mueller said. “Today it’s the turn of RisingWave, which is looking to simplify one of the most challenging software constructs of our time, with data stream processing.”

Looking ahead, RisingWave said its next steps are to use today’s funding to grow its engineering and customer support teams. The RisingWave Cloud database is now available in preview, ahead of general availability that’s slated for 2023. The database will be offered for free, with RisingWave providing additional cloud services to monetize the offering.

Image: RisingWave Labs

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