Commentary: QuestDB is the latest open source database company to hit the market, and it's trying to balance its approach to open source to deliver a sustainable business.
Of the different kinds of databases, nothing has been hotter of late than time series databases. One of those time series databases, QuestDB, is a relative newcomer, but it comes ready with a bold claim: To be the fastest open source time series database. Faster than InfluxDB, TimescaleDB, and the other 30 or so alternatives on the DB-Engines database popularity index?
Yes, said QuestDB cofounders Nicolas Hourcard and Vlad Ilyushchenko in an interview. Fast enough to query billions of rows in milliseconds.
The key to this performance, the cofounders noted, is "developing the entire database from scratch" to be lock-free, thereby ensuring minimal impact on concurrent reads. In practice, this means that QuestDB can enable multi-tenant use such that multiple sources can populate the database or multiple sources can query it...lock-free. As an added bonus, Ilyushchenko said, QuestDB can manage this with less hardware.
But this isn't the only thing QuestDB is trying to do differently to set itself apart. The company also depends upon permissive open-source licensing (Apache 2.0) to give developers unfettered access to the database. Will this combination of speed and developer freedom work?