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VMblog Expert Interview: Sam Lambert Talks PlanetScale Database-as-a-Service Based on Vitess and $30 Million Series B Funding Round


PlanetScale, the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Vitess project, recently announced a new database-as-a-service and a $30 million Series B funding round led by Insight Partners with participation from a16z and SignalFire. To learn more, VMblog reached out to Sam Lambert, chief product officer at PlanetScale, to discuss this new service.

VMblog:  To kick things off, can you give us a backgrounder on PlanetScale and the product?

Sam Lambert:  PlanetScale accelerates companies' success by being both the best choice for developers on day one, when they create their company, and the most scalable choice when they hit hyperscale. Its backend technology, based on Vitess, was developed to power YouTube. It runs on tens of thousands of servers at colossal scale and is now being rapidly adopted by hyperscalers including AirBnB, Slack, GitHub, Square and Figma.

VMblog:  PlanetScale recently launched its new database-as-a-service based on Vitess. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Lambert: On May 18, PlanetScale announced a new database-as-a-service that lets developers create a new database in seconds that will grow as they grow, for years, with no limitations on scalability. Currently in use by Figma, PlanetScale has until now provided a hosted version of Vitess. The new offering moves well beyond these foundations with a developer-first database requiring no knowledge or selection of all of the usual cloud zones, cluster sizes, and other DB-centric minutiae that others require and that increase developer overhead.

VMblog: What is branching?

Lambert: Among the new features that the PlanetScale DBaaS introduces is a capability known as branching. Branching is familiar to software developers who use the Git version control system, in which different branches can be worked on by teams and then reconciled for a final release.

Branching should not be confused with snapshotting, an approach that database administrators have long used to capture the state of data at a given point in time. Snapshotting deals with point-in-time static data, while branching is a live environment. Within a branch, a developer can choose to try out different database schemas.

VMblog: How does the new database-as-a-service help PlanetScale's customers?

Lambert:  The offering gives customers the ability to spin up a distributed database in the cloud to power any application that's expecting to talk to a MySQL backend. Customers get all the scalability benefits of Vitess, but without the hassle of managing a distributed database. PlanetScale is designed to scale with you from idea to IPO and beyond.

VMblog: Congratulations on closing the Series B funding round. Where will you invest the funding?

Lambert: The new funds will be used to scale the PlanetScale team globally and to accelerate exposure and adoption of the platform, which lets developers create a new database in seconds that will grow as they grow, for years, with no limitations on scalability.

VMblog: What's next for PlanetScale?

Lambert: PlanetScale can more easily fit into common developer workflows, such as GitOps. With GitOps, a Git source code repository is used as a source of truth for configurations in applications and operations. Future development of the PlanetScale DBaaS will continue to focus on the developer workflow, making the database a more integrated part of developer tooling and operations.


About Sam Lambert

Sam Lambert is an engineer, angel investor, and Chief Product Officer at PlanetScale, where he leads the engineering and product teams building the next generation cloud database. Previously Sam was Vice President of Engineering at GitHub, where he was responsible for scaling the company and culture to the world's largest platform of developers with over 50 million users. He was also responsible for the creation of GitHub Actions, the popular workflow automation tool. Sam also led the traffic and video infrastructure teams at Facebook. Sam sat on the Cloud Native Computing Foundation Technical Oversight Committee and is an active Scout at Sequoia Capital where he invests in early stage startups.

Published Thursday, June 24, 2021 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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