Greenplum gains funding, CEO and touts open-source innovation

Greenplum announced on Tuesday that it is named Sun Microsystems veteran Bill Cook as CEO and that it has landed $19 million in venture funding.

The company builds high-end data warehousing software on top of the PostgreSQL open-source database.

It has a partnership with Sun Microsystems where Sun has built a data warehouse appliance that combines Greenplum's software with Sun's storage server.

As CEO, Cook said that he intends to ramp up the company's sales efforts with large companies.

There are several open-source database companies looking to take market share from incumbent database providers, including MySQL, EnterpriseDB, and Ingres.

Greenplum is taking a different route: it's going after the data warehousing market where companies like Oracle, Teradata and appliance vendor Netezza are big.

The company's strategy isn't just to undercut rivals on price, though. It's "shared nothing" massively parallel data warehousing database does things that Oracle can't do, said Scott Yara, the company's president and co-founder.

"It took us three years to get this product to market," he said. "We didn't want to push forward with a low-cost support business. We decided to take an innovation tack around data warehousing."

Although open source has become pervasive in the software industry, it's still not clear which start-up businesses and business models will endure. Yara predicted that Greenplum's technical investment on top of open-source products will appeal both to customers and financial backers.

"There is still a question of how to make money in open source," Yara said. "Our revenue model is to charge significant sums of money but we're still saving companies a lot...That's a new model for open source that will also attract the financial community."