Some people might suggest that Codership is in the security business. Don’t tell that to its COO, Sakari Keskitalo. “We are not in the security business,” he tells Red Herring curtly. “We secure our customers’ businesses by protecting against downtimes or hardware and software failures.”
Codership, another of Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe based in the Finnish capital of Helsinki, calls itself a data replication company. That is, it provides “high ability, no-data-loss and clustering solutions for open source databases.” The company’s flagship product, Galera Cluster, is a MySQL-based solution that offers high system uptime and scalability for future growth.
First of all, it’s a good idea at this point to mention MySQL’s amazing durability and popularity. The relational database management system (RDBMS) is the world’s second most widely used, with over 65,000 downloads per day. No wonder Keskitalo and co. were keen to pounce on the market. And the COO confirms that his team’s experience is of great depth.
“The Codership development team previously did three other MySQL clusters,” he says. “They had a great understanding of how to develop the ‘perfect’ MySQL cluster.” The team, Keskitalo adds, came across some university thesis work, which “solved one of the underlying issues with using synchronous replication to develop a so-called multi master cluster. Building on that academic research, Codership created Galera Cluster, which last year was downloaded 100,000 times.
“Our long experience in the business has given us a unique insight into what can and cannot be done,” claims the company. “Instead of accepting the known pitfalls and shortcomings, we work on solutions. Solutions that solve problems, as opposed to finding detours around them.”
Codership “does not have VC funding as such,” says Keskitalo. “We funded our development doing consulting in the beginning. Tekes, the (Finnish) government funding agent, has provided us a loan and grant.” That loan represents around $200,000 of investment: a small figure on these pages. But, as Keskitalo notes, exponential growth via Galera isn’t just a hope, but an expectation.
“It can happen,” he says. “MySQL market growth is 40% over a year. However looking beyond the MySQL market we could enter into NOSQL market – and Hadoop, for example, which is over 10 times bigger than MySQL or NoSQL. But there is still a lot to gain in MySQL market.”
Last year Codership sales reached $500,000 – a 100% increase on the previous year. This year the firm expects to double that figure again, remaining, as it is now, cash-flow positive. And, as Keskitalo says, the company will continue to grow so long as it keeps an ethos of academic study of the field, and a sharp eye on MySQL trends worldwide: “We have seen high adoption simply because existing solutions are not good enough, and web and mobile apps grows bigger.” With that in mind, Codership will soon have to address its own scalability, instead of those of its customers.