MEMSQL 6.7

Case Study: How Customers are Using MemSQL for Free

Kristi Lewandowski
Kristi Lewandowski

On November 6, 2018, we made our then-new production product, MemSQL 6.7, free to use, up to certain limits, described below. To date, we’ve had more than 4,500 sign-ups for this version, with numerous individuals and companies using MemSQL to do some amazing things.

To quickly recap, with MemSQL any customer can sign up and start using our full featured product, with all enterprise capabilities, including high availability and security, for free.

In talking to customers about their experience and what they’ve built, feedback has been astounding, with folks telling us they can’t believe what we’re giving away for free.

We originally stated that what could be done for free with MemSQL, legacy database companies would charge you up to $100,000 a year. Now, we want to tell you what companies are actually doing with MemSQL.

Culture Amp

Culture Amp is an employee feedback platform and was looking for a way to improve data-driven decision making with internal reporting tools. The company’s initial solution had low adoption due to poor performance, mostly due to a slow database engine.

Scott Arbeitman, analytics and data engineering lead at Culture Amp, started investigating a better database to power its reports. “Trying MemSQL for free was a no-brainer,” according to Scott.

The results were outstanding. Tests running the company’s new data model on MemSQL versus the previous database saw an improvement of more than 28x improvement in speed. This speed-up increased reporting usage, made everyone more productive, and helped Culture Amp incorporate more data into the decision-making process.

Nikkei

Nikkei is a large media corporation based in Japan that shares news about Asia in English. Nikkei needed a better way to get real-time analytics on the readers coming to its website and its widely used mobile app.

Having better reader data allows Nikkei to understand what articles are resonating with readers, and what type of ads to show readers. With its previous database, Nikkei was only able to get reader analytics 45 minutes after someone was on the site. Now, with MemSQL, Nikkei is able to get analytics on readers in about 200 milliseconds. That’s an improvement of 13,500 times – four orders of magnitude – in the time until data is available. This allows Nikkei to actually respond to their site visitors’ activities in real time.

Because MemSQL is compatible with MySQL, Nikkei is easily able to integrate the data collected into MemSQL with its other databases. The company is getting all of this performance improvement and flexibility for free.

How to Use MemSQL for Free

If you missed the original announcement, here is a quick recap on what you get when using MemSQL for free:

  • You can create four leaf nodes, with up to eight virtual CPUs per node, and up to 32GB of RAM.
  • You also create aggregator nodes freely; we recommend at least two, for redundancy.
  • You can create as many rowstore tables, stored entirely in-memory, as you like. If your database is entirely made up of rowstore tables, and you have 128GB of RAM in your leaf nodes, that’s the total database size limit.
  • You can also create as many columnstore tables, stored on disk, as you like. A mostly-columnstore database might comfortably reach 1TB in size.
  • Free use of the product includes community support. For dedicated professional support, or more than four leaf nodes, you’ll need a paid license.

Response to the free tier has been positive. Most experimental, proof of concept, and in-house-only projects run easily within a four-(leaf)-node configuration, and don’t require professional support. For projects that move to production, both dedicated professional support and the ability to add more nodes – in particular, for paired development and production environments, and for robust high availability implementations – make sense, and are enabled by an easy switch to our enterprise offering.

The case study snapshots for Culture Amp and Nikkei are good examples of what our customers have accomplished while using MemSQL for free. It’s always fun sharing the benefits our customers achieve with MemSQL versus other databases, but we get even more excited showing these performance increases when they’re achieved using the free option.

We consider all users of MemSQL to be our customers, whether you’re starting with us for the first time for free or you’ve been with MemSQL from the early days. These are just some examples of the cool work happening with free use of MemSQL. To get performance improvements similar to Culture Amp and Nikkei, all you have to do is download MemSQL.

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