RethinkDB Shuts Down. Long Live The Reactive Database!

By OrientDB CEO, Luca Garulli

Last week an announcement was made that RethinkDB was forced to shut down because they were unable to reach financial sustainability after 8 years.


The team reported that RethinkDB will remain an open project and it looks like they are looking for a new house/sponsor that can lead the development of the product for the future. I hope RethinkDB can succeed in taking the project forward, but the chances of becoming a “zombie” project (neither dead nor alive) are very high.

We have all seen open source database projects with similar fates, as was the case with Titan’s Graph Database. More than 1 year ago, the entire Titan Graph Database team moved to another database company, leaving the project in a zombie status with no active development.

I have to say that RethinkDB was an interesting project from a technical point of view. It was the only DBMS that shared our Reactive vision. But just having a valid project doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to create a sustainable business around it.

Why is it so important to have a company sponsor an Open Source project? The most successful Open Source projects have at least one or even more of them. Look at the Linux sponsorship (RedHat, Canonical, IBM, etc) or to remain in the DBMS field, take a look at MySQL: Without MySQL AB, then Sun Microsystems and now Oracle, MySQL wouldn’t have become the successful product we all know today.

At OrientDB, we know very well that transforming an Open Source project into a profitable business isn’t an easy thing to do. However, we have been profitable since our first year. We have a unique business plan: our happy clients are our investors. Answering only to them helps keep us on the right path. This year will mark a new record in revenue and the Multi-Model concept is becoming so viral that other competitors like MongoDB, CouchBase and Datastax (Cassandra) have already announced that they’ll be adopting a multi-model soon, following the path we started in 2010. That’s some great validation for us.

If you are a RethinkDB user and you’d like to explore new opportunities, take a look at OrientDB starting from the Live Query page. If you are missing some of the features of RethinkDB that you’d like to see in OrientDB, don’t hesitate to create a new feature request on our GitHub account. We are always looking for ways to improve OrientDB and stay on the cutting edge.

Wishing the best to the RethinkDB Open Source project,

Luca Garulli
Founder & CEO
OrientDB LTD

Start using the world’s leading multi-model database today