Why Citus Data is donating 1 percent equity to PostgreSQL foundations
|Richard Harris in Open Source Monday, November 26, 2018|
CEO of Citus Data says that they will be giving 1 percent of their companies equity to PostgreSQL foundations to further the cause of the popular open source relational database.
The distribution model for databases is shifting to the cloud. With this shift, the economics of open source communities are changing. One of the most important issues in modern software is building sustainable open source models in the age of the cloud.
A challenge with being an independent open source project, however, is financial. The PostgreSQL community is committed to driving innovation on the world’s most advanced open source database. How does the funding model evolve over time to ensure the sustainability of Postgres?
We sat down and had a chat with Umur Cubukcu, CEO and co-founder of Citus Data to learn more about the open source community.
ADM: Tell us about Citus Data
Cubukcu: Founded in 2011, at Citus Data our mission is to make it so organizations never have to worry about scaling their database again. Citus is worry-free Postgres that is built to scale out. Made for SaaS companies and enterprises, Citus is an open source extension to Postgres (not a fork) that transforms PostgreSQL into a distributed database. Citus is available as a fully-managed database as a service, as enterprise software you can run anywhere, and as open source.
ADM: Why is an open source model important?
Cubukcu: Open source has changed the landscape of how all companies build software. These days, almost every software solution - even proprietary ones - have open source somewhere in their technology stack. In addition to making it easy for users to try out software (just download the open source packages), along with helping users to avoid vendor lock-in all while being free to use, open source makes it possible for software creators to focus their energies on whatever is new and innovative in their application, rather than having to reinvent the wheel.
ADM: How has Postgres changed the open source community?
Cubukcu: PostgreSQL is known as the world’s most advanced open source relational database. And because PostgreSQL is open source, it is an ideal choice for organizations who want to avoid the vendor lock-in of proprietary databases, such as Oracle. Postgres also offers a solid starting point for new applications, especially apps built by organizations who value and prioritize open source.
ADM: Does it seem like Postgres is getting more attention than other databases?
Cubukcu: I’m not sure how it happened but PostgreSQL is now the “cool” database, a database that so many developers love to love. Yes, Postgres is open source. Yes, Postgres is an independent database, not backed by any single vendor. Yes, Postgres won “Database of the Year” for 2017 on DB-Engines. And yes, in conjunction with Citus, Postgres can now be transformed into a distributed database. These days, in the developer community, Postgres is definitely getting more attention than ever before. Rightfully so.
ADM: As the distribution model shifts to the cloud, what does that mean for PostgreSQL?
Cubukcu: By most metrics, PostgreSQL is more successful than ever - whether you look at the number of new applications being built on Postgres, the number of cloud vendors who have launched new Postgres services, the number of attendees at Postgres conferences, the number of job postings that require Postgres expertise, or the number of new and innovation Postgres extensions that are being created. On the other hand, as the distribution model for software shifts to the cloud, well, cloud services are definitely changing the economics of open source funding models.
Which is why we’ve donated 1% equity to the PostgreSQL organizations in the US and Europe. Not only do we want to do our part to provide for the future success of PostgreSQL, but we also hope this donation starts a larger conversation in this age of cloud, about ways companies can (and should!) give back to open source communities. We hope that other companies follow suit, and also contribute equity to the PostgreSQL open source non-profits.
ADM: I’ve heard Citus Data is donating 1% of its stock options to the non-profit PostgreSQL foundations. Why?
Cubukcu: At Citus Data, we have a special relationship with the PostgreSQL open source project. Our flagship product Citus builds on and transforms Postgres into a distributed database. Our team attends and presents at Postgres conferences. We sponsor PostgreSQL events and meetups. We maintain and support several PostgreSQL extensions.
Over the years, our team and our company have benefited from the work of the Postgres community. We owe a lot of our success to the PostgreSQL project and the many talented people involved. Giving 1% equity in Citus Data to the PostgreSQL non-profit organizations is a way for us to give back to the community that made this project so successful, to say thank you - and to do our part to advance the growth of PostgreSQL into the future.
ADM: Why are you donating a gift of 1% equity rather than a direct financial investment?
Cubukcu: With this donation of 1% of the stock in Citus Data, we are sharing a piece of our future success with the PostgreSQL non-profits in the US and Europe. As we grow, we want the PostgreSQL community to also benefit from our growth - and the best way to ensure that is to give equity. Our hope is that in time, as a result of the hard work on the part of the Citus Data team, that the equity donation will be far more valuable than a cash gift. We are also curious to see what other companies will contribute equity to the PostgreSQL community - and to other open source organizations - moving forward!
About Umur Cubukcu
Umur Cubukcu is the CEO and co-founder of Citus Data. Umur co-founded Citus Data to make it so organizations never have to worry about scaling their database. As CEO, he serves in both operational and strategic roles. Before founding Citus Data, Umur led enterprise software and IT projects at Boston Consulting Group.