Apple Buys Database Company FoundationDB

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Apple recently acquired Virginia-based database technology startup FoundationDB, likely in an attempt to bolster the infrastructure of their many data-heavy services.

Founded in 2009, FoundationDB is a multi-model NoSQL database. The database has achieved impressive speed in numerous tests. According to a recent blog post on FoundationDB’s website, their new transaction engine “averages 14,400,000 random writes per second” in a 5 minute test. The blog post also points out that the database achieves this speed in a very efficient and cost-effective manner:

“At current (December 2014) AWS (non-spot) pricing and including enterprise FoundationDB licenses for all 480 cores with full 24/7 support this mega-cluster only costs about $150/hr. In that same hour this cluster will achieve 54 billion writes, yielding a cost-per-write of 3 nanodollars. Said another way, FoundationDB can do 3.6 million database writes per penny.”

To put all that in layman’s terms, FoundationDB offers a lightning-fast, solid, and affordable database. Apple’s acquisition of the company could serve a variety of purposes. They will likely use the company’s team of engineers to enhance the infrastructure of their iTunes, iCloud, iMessage, and App Store services. If the rumors of an Apple-owned subscription television service are true, the technology could be used to strengthen that service, as well.

While neither company has confirmed the acquisition yet, FoundationDB has ceased offering downloads of their database software, with a note on their website stating that they have “made the decision to evolve [their] company mission” and that they will “no longer offer downloads.” Apple gave a bit of a more canned response to an inquiry about the acquisition: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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