Case Study: Katoni Migrates from Elasticsearch to MemSQL for Scandinavian SaaS

Floyd Smith

Since MemSQL became free to use last November – for up to four nodes, and with community support – new, creative uses of MemSQL have abounded. One of the most impressive new implementations is from Katoni, an ecommerce hub that offers SEO tools via software as a service (SaaS) to mostly Scandinavian clients. Katoni has replaced Elasticsearch with MemSQL for MemSQL’s ability to handle complex queries with speed, scalability, and native SQL support.

MemSQL is currently the primary database powering Katoni’s SaaS suite of SEO tools. MemSQL runs alongside PostgreSQL, which serves as a secondary database for specific tasks such as projects, users, and billing.

Elasticsearch to MemSQL move.
Katoni runs a popular e-commerce portal and an SEO offering delivered as SaaS.

Moving to MemSQL

Like many companies, Katomi was originally running on other technologies, then moved to MemSQL as problems such as slow query performance dogged their efforts.

According to Martin Skovvang, software engineer at Katoni, “We started out with Elasticsearch, but soon needed a replacement as our queries became more complex. Especially, the JOINs, subselects, and HAVING features provided the major benefit of moving to MemSQL, along with the transaction siupport, scalability, and ease of use.”

Katoni uses a combination of rowstore and columnstore tables. They are excited about some upcoming MemSQL features that promise to combine the best of both.

Getting MemSQL for free, while they grow their SaaS business, is crucial to Katomi’s success. As they hit their business milestones in SaaS, they expect to move to a paid subscription.

“Impressive Stability”

Katomi runs MemSQL in Google Cloud Platform, using three VMs. They collect millions of rows of data a day into tables with tens of millions of rows in rowstore, using several tens of gigabytes of memory, and more than a billion rows in columnstore, consuming disk storage of an additional tens of gigabytes.

Katomi describes MemSQL’s stability as “impressive.” According to Skovvang, “What usually worries me most about managing databases? Two things: backups and crash recovery.” With other databases, crashes required involving the vendor’s support team, costing Katoni hours of downtime. With MemSQL, the recovery process is almost fully automatic; they never need to involve support.

Katomi does have a short wishlist for MemSQL. The interpret_first feature, which was offered as an option in MemSQL 6.7, then turned on by default in MemSQL 6.8, met one wish. Katomi are also looking for a native UUID data type, unique indexes in columnstore, and enhanced support for foreign keys.

Schema design options will open up if MemSQL can shard on non-PRIMARY keys. Enhanced multi-language support for certain full text indexes will help as well. Most of the features Katoni is looking for are either already planned, or under active discussion for MemSQL’s development road map.


Many MemSQL customers get traction running MemSQL for free, with the option of moving to a paid subscription as their needs grow. You can ask about MemSQL on the MemSQL Forums, download and run MemSQL for free, or contact MemSQL Sales today.

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