ChistaDATA: A Faster, Cheaper and Fully Open Source Cloud Data Warehouse for the World

Anandamoy Roychowdhary

Published January 27, 2022

By Anandamoy Roychowdhary and Sidhant Goyal

If software is eating the world, the once-humble data warehouse now has the center seat at the breakfast table. 

Every enterprise today is making data-driven decisions, based on sophisticated business intelligence. Naturally, data analytics engines that enable this are having their day in the sun. Sequoia has always believed in the transformative power of big data.  In the US, Sequoia Capital has partnered with many companies that imagine the future of data, such as Confluent and dbt. Sequoia Capital India, meanwhile, has partnered with compelling startups in our region, including Atlan and Hevodata, that are building for global markets.

While closed-source cloud data warehouse (CDW) incumbents have been on a rampage in the recent past, the pace of growth has come at a pretty steep price and growing total cost of ownership (TCO). Ever-growing analytics bills predicated on data pass-through (usage-based) pricing, complete vendor lock-in, which is a given the sheer volume of critical business data stored and analyzed on these platforms, and compromised platform configurability / flexibility, which is entirely dependent on the CDW vendor’s product strategy, have emerged as pain points, to name but a few. What’s more, not every company – especially the legacy enterprise – is ready for the move to cloud: many want solutions as powerful as today’s CDWs but on their own infrastructure with better TCO. 

Enter ClickHouse. This is an extremely powerful, highly latency optimized (10 -1000x faster than peers, by recent estimates) and battle-tested online analytical processing (OLAP) database engine that was developed at Yandex, Russia’s equivalent to Google, in the mid-2010s and functions as an open-source alternative to Redshift, Hive, BigQuery, etc. It is seeing significant adoption in the enterprise of its own accord (from Alibaba to Cloudflare to Spotify), but is often hard to manage, and to find the personnel needed to manage it can present its own specific and expensive challenge. We believe that fully managed ClickHouse services, whether deployed in the public cloud or in private infrastructure, would be an attractive proposition given high query performance, linear scalability and reliability and (most critically, as with all infrastructure software) lower TCO.

Against this backdrop we’re excited to announce that Sequoia Capital India is leading the pre-series A for ChistaDATA, which aims to build the fastest and most scalable managed ClickHouse service in the world.

ChistaDATA was founded in 2021 by Shiv Iyer, one of the world’s foremost database experts with over 20 years of data SRE & ops experience across companies like Percona, Sun Microsystems, PayPal, NatGeo, BBC, AOL, Twitter, ESPN and Virgin Mobile.  

We have known Shiv for a long time and were closely associated with him at MinervaDB, where he scaled support & services for OLTP (online transaction processing) databases to many tens of millions of annual recurring revenue with rich free cash flows, and know him as an intrepid technologist and builder with a penchant for large-ticket enterprise sales. ChistaDATA, which provides simple, fully managed solutions on your own infrastructure, offers the complete flexibility that one can expect from a 100% OSS company. Coming very soon is a fully-managed ChistaDATA cloud offering that will offer very simple usage-based pricing that completely negates the need for any ClickHouse expertise to operate a big data setup. Most notably, these services will operate an evolution of the original Yandex ClickHouse codebase called ‘ChistaDATA server for Clickhouse’ all of this is fully open-sourced by the ChistaDATA team, tuned to deliver a 4x increase in performance vis-a-vis the classic implementation by leveraging high performance LSM stores.

When Shiv, who splits his time between San Francisco and Bangalore, told us of his intention to create a managed service around ClickHouse, it represented the confluence of a massive technology trend with a special founder. We’re excited to work with Shiv to build what we believe is the most compelling, predominant 100% OSS company to emerge from our part of the world.