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Theme fund: NGI0 PET
Start: 2019-10
End: 2022-08
More projects like this
Software engineering
Data and AI


Create more reliable, distributed embedded databases

The most widely-used database (SQLite) is not as reliable as it could be, and is missing essential features like encryption and safe usage in networked environments. Billions of people unknowingly depend on SQLite in their applications for critical tasks throughout the day, and this embedded database is used in many internet applications - including in some core internet and technology infrastructure. This project wants to create a viable alternative ('rip and replace'), using the battle tested LMDB produced by the LDAP community. This effort allow to address a number of other shortcomings, and make many applications more trustworthy and by means of adding cryptography also more private. Given the wide range of use cases and heavy operational demands of this class of embedded databases, a serious effort is needed to execute this plan in a way where users can massively switch. The project will extensively test, and will validate its efforts with a number of critical applications.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

Modern computers are fast. They process millions if not billions of instructions per second. Whenever you are waiting for a computer to do something, it therefore likely is either of two cases: data has to be fetched from far away and it takes time to transport the volume of data needed, or you are waiting for a database looking up some (combination) of data. Often it will be actually be both, because much of the data is stored remotely and much of that data will be in a database as well.

Historically databases were huge, and required an entire mainframe to run. These days, databases are small and fit in pretty much everywhere. This allows even the smallest applications to involve a database, whether it is for storing configuration data, logs or user data. Whether it is an operating system, a browser, a router, a game or even an entire programming language like Python - embedded databases are everywhere.

That makes the security and privacy of these embedded components an interesting and important topic. LumoSQL wants to innovate in the embedded database space, by bringing together best of breed components of existing databases together in a single powerful application - and adding useful features currently missing such as encryption, and networked usage. The idea is to be a drop-in replacement for popular embedded databases such as SQLite.

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This project was funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.