That’s a Wrap – HarperDB 2020





Though this year has been quite different for everyone, the team at HarperDB has made great strides from both a product and organization standpoint. Before 2021 arrives, we wanted to take a moment to summarize what we’ve accomplished this year, how we overcame challenges, and what we look forward to next year. HarperDB has an energetic and dynamic team, always looking to stay ahead of the curve. Our product is breaking records on data read and write speeds, simplifying the data pipeline, and changing the way people think about data management as a whole. We launched HarperDB Cloud (our managed and hosted offering) in April, released many product feature updates, and worked with top tier companies to provide innovative solutions on a large scale… it’s all pretty exciting, to say the least.

Of course, there have been challenges; we had to make cuts, reduce costs, and made a lot of difficult decisions. We’ve been working remotely since March, and our team has never been more productive, specifically our development team. The entire HarperDB staff has stayed healthy and stuck together during these times, and we are coming out stronger on the other end. We have a lot to be grateful for, and I think it’s safe to say that HarperDB is currently in the best position we’ve ever been.


We asked each of our team members to share a few sentences about how this year has been, what they worked on, and what they’ll be focusing on next year:

Kyle Bernhardy, Co-Founder & CTO

Both personally & professionally this year we had to navigate experiences we have never faced before. Building a cloud platform from the ground up; replacing our storage engine with a net new technology; facing the uncertainty of a pandemic; bringing our team remote in the middle of a major development cycle; maintaining company culture, connection & collaboration; delivering solutions & support to our customers & community; continuing to innovate. These are just some of the challenges from 2020. Facing these challenges created the opportunities of a vastly more accessible, performant product with a sizzling front end Studio, a resilient team that has come together and leaned into individual strengths to bolster each other with creativity, intelligence & support; a growing community of developers & customers who believe in our vision. There have been cycles of fear & anxiety but also cycles of focus, growth & restoration that have got us through this year with more challenges & opportunities to tackle together. The highlight of my year & what I am most proud to come through 2020 is the HarperDB team. It is our individual members together who create solutions that delight customers and make our mission & vision possible.

My focus for 2020 was on building a solid foundation for the HarperDB product & engineering team. Personally, I built a new data storage engine from the ground up with LMDB as the underlying data store. This gave us upwards 700x performance improvements over our previous state & boosted us in outperforming a number of competitive products on the market as well as set us up for future benefits to be implemented in upcoming releases. I have been researching how our inter-node communication layer & distribution can be enhanced & have been deeply involved in PoC development for future projects. On the team front to guide the engineering team through development & release cycles and refine our processes to be better suited to remote collaboration.

My focus will continue to be focused on advanced R&D and fostering the engineering team. Early next year I will be finishing & releasing across the board data engine enhancements which will provide better indexing, read & write performance. Following that I will build out backup/import functionality and assist in customer project success. I am most looking forward to seeing us execute our vision on the business side and getting HarperDB in the hands of more devs & use cases.

Zach Fowler, Co-Founder & CPO

To be perfectly honest this year at HarperDB has been the best so far, save not having the team a few steps away. I have come to appreciate me as not a worker bee but as a contributor to a larger community. Highlights have been working and supporting clients, the amazing things they are building with HarperDB. Watching the community build tools for HarperDB and being an endless source of ideas and features.

2020 was busy and the team carried out many extraordinary endeavors. HarperDB Cloud as a Service was a gigantic undertaking, and we implemented it in short order with great success!

I did a lot of work in the containerization of HarperDB and the ecosystems that support containers, specifically Kubernetes. This is an ongoing challenge but is very rewarding learning and adapting HarperDB for these use cases. This work has prepared HarperDB for opportunities in amazing partnerships that we should see come to fruition in the coming months.

In the new year I am excited to continue to watch the community expand. I will be continuing to focus on improving and increasing HarperDB deployment channels; expanding the Kubernetes offering, adding alternative cloud providers, Azure, GCP, Packet. It is going to be a good year, very proud to have come this far. Cheers! And Happy New Year.

Fred Yoon, Co-Founder & COO

It has undoubtedly been a challenging year for everyone due to the uncertainties of Covid. Overall for me, I had a smooth transition working from home. However, I didn’t realize how hard it could be with the entire family at the house at all times. I’m proud of the entire HarperDB team as everyone has seemingly adapted well to the new challenges of working exclusively from home while maintaining their productivity. It has allowed us to end the year on a high note by successfully closing a Series Seed financing round and positioning the company for success in 2021.

This year, some of my main goals and accomplishments were to help the organization navigate through Covid-19 operationally and financially, nurture and finalize strategic partnerships with Lumen and Section.io, and complete our Series Seed financing.

2021 will be more of Covid and hopefully the transition to the end of the pandemic and more great opportunities for HarperDB. Next year, my goals will be centered around successful partnerships and helping close out the significant sales opportunities developed this year. I look forward to a very prosperous New Year for our company.

Mark Hardy, VP Solution Delivery

Overall I feel fortunate to have my family together and safe – I missed the face to face conversations with friends and colleagues and customers but overall the team at HarperDB made some amazing strides with the HDB Cloud product and improving performance and capabilities for our clients. It is unfortunate that my college kids were not able to have the on campus experience that they had expected. They have great attitudes and have been very positive during the crisis. So I am grateful for their perseverance. Highlights of the year includes many camping trips during the summer months with friends and family. With the support of our partner Casne, we developed a capability for industrial IOT which allows for the collection and management of extremely high frequency datasets for use in analytics and plant management. We also made great strides in introducing HarperDB within the DoD community. Both of these efforts will provide the market with a unique capability to support a variety of use cases in 2021. I am very excited to market the high resolution data collection solution to industrial clients and to assist in helping our DoD clients enhance their cyber capabilities.

Jaxon Repp, VP Product

This year has been pretty, pretty, pretty good. I worked on the Studio, HarperDB Cloud, Developer MarketplaceDB Migrator, and Clustering. Next year, I intend to reduce the amount of coding I do, if/when we get to the point of hiring other people.

Coding is a skill set I possess, but as we head into the new year most projects will be incremental improvements to our already-awesome suite of products. It will no longer going to be greenfield development, which is where the art is (for me, at least).

I want to spend more time with customers and developers on a comprehensive roadmap that puts us in the same league as Oracle and SQL Server. I want to be able to partner with universities to make us the database that the next generation of developers cut their teeth on. I want to never have to hedge when answering a customer question because we are always faster, more flexible, more performant, and more cost-effective than any other solution they might be considering.I want ubiquitous data to save the world, and I want HarperDB to be the way that data gets it done.

Jacob Cohen, Director of Product Management

This year has certainly been weird, but I think I’ve made the best of it. I’ve gotten used to working from home and have grown to enjoy the flexibility of it, however, I do miss seeing everyone. I’ve taken the opportunity to learn new skills.

In the middle of this year, I was promoted to Director of Product Management. My previous role was Solutions Architect, which I am still involved in with the sales team, but it helped me better understand the needs of our customers/users so that I can better guide the direction of the product. One of the more fun things I created this year was our video tutorial series. Additionally, I am in the process of revamping our documentation, which became available with the release of HarperDB 2.3.0.

I will continue working with the engineering and sales teams to ensure that HarperDB is delivering the proper features and functionality to deliver cutting edge data solutions. HarperDB has some exciting features on our roadmap and I’m looking forward to seeing them come to fruition.

Aron Johnson, Automation Engineer

Given the social/economic/pandemic challenges of 2020, I’ve been very fortunate this year all things considered. The main thing I have worked on and accomplished is helping to build, maintain, and improve HarperDB Cloud. Next year, I’ll continue to improve HarperDB Cloud. Continue to support our developers so they can make HarperDB even better. I am most excited about seeing HarperDB being used by more people, and used in new and interesting ways. Growing the team. Getting vaccinated, and seeing my friends and family more.

David Cockerill, Software Engineer

This year has not been that bad for me. While I miss the camaraderie of working in the office I prefer working from home. I enjoy the flexibility that it provides and the location independence. Due to social distancing restrictions I have spent more time exercising outside. My running has progressed significantly and I ran my first half marathon. One of my biggest highlights of the year was adopting a dog, it has been quite the adjustment but a worthy one. This year for me was all about the HarperDB studio, specifically the back end. I spent most my time building out the serverless architecture that supports the studio. I have really enjoyed learning more about cloud computing and am excited to continue that exploration. Next year I will be working on automating some of our internal processes and will continue supporting HarperDB Cloud offerings.

Sam Johnson, Software Engineer

As one of the few HarperDB’ers who, pre-pandemic, strongly preferred to not work from home, this year has been a challenge and major adjustment. That said, I have been really lucky that the transition allowed me to spend significantly more time with my baby girl (who just turned ONE!) while still managing to keep some semblance of productivity. Highlight of the year has absolutely been getting to see Olivia transition from awesome, happy newborn to awesome, happy kiddo. This year I worked on hardening our core product. Mainly overhauling and adding new features to our SQL engine, implementing a new, more robust approach for permissions, and adding other features like bulk load operations from S3 and NoSQL Upsert. This coming year I will be primarily working on improving HarperDB’s SQL operations, focusing on performance improvements and new features and functionality – currently working on building a much faster server layer for HDB that should be ready for release in early 2021. Outside of work, I am excited to be able to do a bit more traveling and catch up on all the beers I’ve had to skip with my friends and family in 2020.

Jason Bathrick, Business Development

My dogs aren’t barking but HarperDB is!

2020 brought some serious change on the sales side over at HarperDB. During Q1, it was my goal to introduce HarperDB to as many companies in Denver as I possibly could and that meant face to face meetings, lunches, and networking events. It was exciting and fun to meet with businesses and share new data management concepts and help them solve challenges with HarperDB. With Covid, the entire business development market was flipped. Instead of running and gunning, I’ve been glued to my chair since March. My dad bod is a testament to the lack of movement but as a sales guy, you gotta roll with the punches.

One of the achievements I am most proud of is helping forge a partnership with the US Army. HarperDB is being deployed to collect sensor data in the field and distribute/aggregate the data in real-time for situational awareness purposes. When I entered the data management industry, I never expected to work on innovative projects that help keep our soldiers safe. I really think it’s awesome and am proud HarperDB is a staple in the project.

Secondly, we have been working with a major Telecommunications Company on innovative ways to leverage HarperDB to bring value to their end customers. Through trial and error, and bringing a lot of very smart and talented individuals together to strategize, we have come up with business applications that are game changers, The future is very bright for HarperDB!

For 2021, I would like to get HarperDB more involved in Digital Manufacturing and Design projects. HarperDB’s ability for data filtering, real-time alerting, and our ability to move operational data into enterprise systems can really enhance operations and reduce spend. I would also like to find more cutting edge technology projects in the government sector and work on partnering with a major aerospace and defense company.

Kaylan Stock, Director Marketing

Thankful for my health, my family’s health, my boyfriend Matt, and our pet clan (Alby, Ike, & Harold). This year hasn’t been easy, but it’s been a year of growth, self reflection, and learning to appreciate what I have. My favorite part was finally achieving my goal of buying a home and just in time to have an office space now that HDB is a fully remote company. 🙂 This year at Harper, I worked with my new partner in crime Margo on the marketing launch of HarperDB Cloud. I have spent a ton of time blogging, helping coordinate events, running social media, and coordinating the marketing around HDB Cloud! I also helped run a complete website makeover in the beginning of year. 2021 will be HarperDB’s year! We will be focusing on content, brand & product awareness along with driving user adoption through developer evangelism!

Margo McCabe, Sr Director DevRel & Partnerships

What a year! While I miss the same things we all do (seeing people, traveling, leaving my house), I really do feel fortunate all things considered. My family and friends have stayed healthy, and we even jumped on the puppy bandwagon with our new rescue pup named Jagger. My focus has been around expanding the HarperDB user base, procuring dev resources, gauging feedback, connecting our users and product team, and raising product awareness, as well as partnerships on a larger scale. It’s incredibly rewarding being able to see firsthand how HarperDB has helped developers and tech leaders of all skill levels across numerous applications. In 2021 I’ll stay on the same track, continuing to increase community engagement with our informative livestream events, developer examples, and new tech podcast series (we’re looking for guest speakers!).


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It may seem like it, but I didn’t force any of them to write that. We have a great team, and it really has been a strategic and productive year for HarperDB and we are eager to show you what’s yet to come. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our incredible partners, customers, and HarperDB users, as well as the innovative minds and resources of the developer community as a whole.

Happy holidays, stay safe, and well.

Stephen Goldberg, CEO & Co-Founder