Ant Group’s internal database to be published worldwide • The Register

Ant Group, the financial services company that emerged from Chinese tech giant Alibaba, has created a database it claims is a fast and scalable alternative to MySQL and will soon be commercializing it in China and beyond.

The database is named “OceanBase” and was developed as Ant Group’s internal system, a more than decent pedigree given that the company operates the Alipay payment service, which has over 700 million users and handles billions of transactions monthly.

Some Chinese banks have started using OceanBase, and Ant Group is using these exposures to diversify its business. Last week the company took its OceanBase operations even further, announcing version 4.0 and its intention to find resellers to sell and maintain the database.

OceanBase is a distributed relational database that is widely compatible with MySQL. Ant Group claims that it handles many workloads, has set transaction processing speed records, and outperforms MySQL.

Version 4.0 improves recovery time from 30 to eight seconds and has been optimized to run on single nodes – even a PC or Raspberry Pi.

As with previous releases, the new version is also being offered as a free community edition. Ant Group says it has downsized the community edition so it can run on four cores and 8GB of RAM – specifications that match those of the Raspberry Pi 4.

The Ant Group also appears to have created managed services for the database, promising three tiers of support, with the highest guaranteed uptime of four nines.

A channel program is also in the works, currently only for China, with the goal of recruiting 60 partners and disties to drive the product forward. However, the company has also announced plans to launch OceanBase globally, with the community edition hoping to get base developers excited.

Even with massive scalability and MySQL compatibility, attracting customers outside of China will be a challenge. But China’s tech companies have a playbook for success abroad: Companies like Huawei and ZTE are finding their way into offshore telecom deals as part of larger infrastructure investments led by the Chinese government.

Perhaps OceanBase could find a similar route to market in places where China wants to do business but database vendors traditionally don’t target. ® Ant Group’s internal database to be published worldwide • The Register

Laura Coffey

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