Redis Labs hires the creator of Redis, Salvatore Sanfilippo

The company formed to commercialize an open source project just brought in the creator of the project. Consider that a coup.

The creator of an open source project beavers away within a large vendor. Suddenly, another company that is commercializing said open source project hires that creator away from the large vendor to come work for them. Apart from significant amounts of confusion, a coup is scored.

Redis is an open source, in-memory NoSQL database that has been benchmarked as the fastest database available today. For good measure, it is also the fastest-growing database since January 2013 and one of the top three NoSQL databases as ranked by DB-engines. If that wasn't enough, both and ClusterHQ rank Redis as the second most popular database in containers. Suffice it to say that Redis is a valuable database offering.

Salvatore Sanfilippo is the creator of Redis. He led the development of the product, initially while working for VMware, and then later while at Pivotal.

Rounding out the triumvirate of players for this post is Redis Labs, a company that was founded in 2011 specifically to offer commercial Redis services. Redis Labs boasts of 5,000 paying customers as well as over 30,000 customers using its free offering. Over 100,000 Redis databases have been created using Redis Labs technology. To date, the company has raised $28 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Carmel Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and others.

And so the news today that Sanfilippo is joining Redis Labs can be seen as something of a coup for the company. This is the guy who created Redis, and hence his joining Redis Labs provides a very big tick for the company. And the company is quick to point that out.

"Salvatore has the extraordinary achievement of making Redis a mainstream database with a vibrant community of hundreds of thousands of developers in just six years," said Ofer Bengal, CEO and co-founder of Redis Labs.

For his part, Sanfilippo is pretty bullish about his new employers:

Redis Labs has made a remarkable steady work of building a very strong company, with an expert team of developers enhancing the core of Redis, and a great set of products that provide Redis users with the commercial choices they need. Redis Labs is willing to continue what VMware and Pivotal started and we all agreed that this is the right move for the future of Redis. I will be able to work as I currently do, spending all my time in the open source side of the project, while Redis Labs continues to provide Redis users with a hassle-free Redis deployment experience with its products and services. Because of my close interaction with Redis Labs, we will see many more contributions from Redis Labs developers to the Redis core.

As an aside, it seems the tension created by a somewhat ill-advised name change by Redis Labs has been resolved by all.

This is a great hire for Redis Labs and bodes well for the Redis project. What it means in terms of Pivotal's ongoing commitment is unknown, but in any case this is another arrow in Redis Labs' quiver.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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