Alibaba's OceanBase distributed database aims at markets outside China

The distributed SQL-compatible database, which supports hybrid transactional analytical processing (HTAP), can run on low-specification machines such as Raspberry Pi, the company says.

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Alibaba and its financial services arm, Ant Financial, have launched a new version of the OceanBase distributed relational database for markets outside China.

Dubbed OceanBase 4.0 and released last week, it can run on single low-specification machines—nodes, in the world of distrbuted databases—such as Raspberry Pi, and is MySQL compatible, according to the company. These features make the new version appropriate for small and medium-size businesses, the company said.

The new version also boasts features such as zero data loss rate and a disaster recovery time of less than eight seconds compared to the previous release’s recovery time of 30 seconds, according to the company.

OceanBase, which supports hybrid transactional analytical processing (HTAP), started off as a project in Alibaba in 2010 to replace Oracle and support the massive transactional workloads of Alipay, Alibaba's financial services arm.

HTAP is a hybrid architecture approach wherein a database gathers data that is later copied to another system for analytics.

OceanBase, which was made available commercially in 2017 and later made accessible via Alibaba’s public cloud, is expected to support AWS from September, the company said, adding that support for other public cloud providers are expected to follow soon.

Alibaba’s decision to take OceanBase global comes at a time when several other China-based databases, such as Apache Doris and StarRocks, are starting to target the North American and European markets.

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