HomeNewsWhy vector databases are having a moment because the AI ​​hype peaks

Why vector databases are having a moment because the AI ​​hype peaks

Vector databases are all the trend, judging by the variety of startups entering the space and investors ponying up for a bit of the pie. The proliferation of huge language models (LLMs) and the generative AI (GenAI) movement have created fertile ground for vector database technologies to thrive.

While traditional relational databases like Postgres or MySQL work well for structured data – predefined data types that could be organized neatly into rows and columns – this doesn't work so well for unstructured data like images, videos, emails, social media posts and all Data that doesn’t conform to a predefined data model.

Vector databases, however, store and process data in the shape of vector embeddings, which convert text, documents, images, and other data into numerical representations that capture the meaning and relationships between the varied data points. This is ideal for machine learning since the database stores data spatially depending on how relevant each item is to at least one one other, making it easier to retrieve semantically similar data.

This is especially useful for LLMs like OpenAI's GPT-4, because it allows the AI ​​chatbot to higher understand the context of a conversation by analyzing previous similar conversations. Vector search can also be useful for all types of real-time applications, reminiscent of content recommendations on social networks or e-commerce apps, because it could possibly see what a user has looked for and retrieve similar items immediately.

Vector search may also help reduce “hallucinations” in LLM applications by providing additional information that won’t have been available in the unique training data set.

“Without using vector similarity search, you possibly can still develop AI/ML applications, but you would wish to do more retraining and fine-tuning.” Other ZayarniCEO and co-founder of vector search startup quadrantexplained TechCrunch. “Vector databases come into play when there may be a big dataset and you would like a tool to work with vector embeddings efficiently and conveniently.”

In January, Qdrant secured $28 million in funding to capitalize on the expansion that made it one among the ten fastest-growing industrial open source startups last yr. And it's removed from the one vector database startup to lift money recently – Vespa, Weavepine cones and Chroma collectively raised $200 million across various vector offerings last yr.

Qdrant founding team. Photo credits: quadrant

Since the turn of the yr we now have also seen Index Ventures Lead a $9.5 million seed round into it Superlinked, a platform that transforms complex data into vector embeddings. And a number of weeks ago, Y Combinator (YC) introduced its Winter '24 cohort, including: Lanterna startup selling a hosted vector search engine for Postgres.

Elsewhere, broth Late last yr, the corporate raised a $4.4 million seed round, followed shortly thereafter Series A round valued at $12.5 million in February. The Marqo platform offers a full range of out-of-the-box vector tools that include vector generation, storage and retrieval, allowing users to bypass third-party tools reminiscent of OpenAI or Hugging Face, and it does all of it through a single API.

Co-founder of Marqo Tom Hamer And Jesse N Clark He previously worked in technical roles at Amazon, where they recognized the “huge unmet need” for semantic, flexible search across different modalities reminiscent of text and pictures. And then they jumped ship and founded Marqo in 2021.

“Working with visual search and robotics at Amazon, I actually got into vector search – I used to be interested by latest ways to do product discovery, and that in a short time led me to vector search,” Clark told TechCrunch. “In robotics, I used multimodal search to look through lots of our images to see if there have been faulty things like hoses and packages. Otherwise it might have been a giant challenge to resolve this problem.”

Co-founder of Marqo

Marqo co-founders Jesse Clark and Tom Hamer. Photo credits: Broth

Enter the corporate

While vector databases provide a snapshot amid the hustle and bustle of ChatGPT and the GenAI movement, they will not be the panacea for each enterprise search scenario.

“Dedicated databases are typically fully focused on specific use cases and might subsequently be architected for performance on the required tasks in addition to user experience, in comparison with general-purpose databases that must fit throughout the current design.” Peter ZaitsevFounder of database support and services company Percona told TechCrunch.

While specialized databases can excel at one thing to the exclusion of others, that is why we’re beginning to see it Database operator like for instance Elastic, Redis, OpenSearch, Cassandra, oracleAnd MongoDB Adding intelligent features for searching vector databases in addition to cloud service providers Microsoft's Azure, Amazon's AWSAnd Cloud flare.

Zaitsev compares this latest trend to what happened JSON More than a decade ago, when web apps were rising in popularity and developers needed a language-independent data format that was easy for people to read and write. In this case, a brand new class of databases emerged in the shape of document databases reminiscent of MongoDB, but in addition existing relational databases Introducing JSON support.

“I feel the identical thing will probably occur with vector databases as well,” Zaitsev told TechCrunch. “Users constructing very complicated and large-scale AI applications will use dedicated vector search databases, while individuals who need to construct a little bit of AI functionality for his or her existing application usually tend to use vector search functionality within the databases they already use.”

But Zayarni and his Qdrant colleagues are betting that native solutions based entirely on vectors will provide the “speed, storage security and scalability” needed given the explosion in vector data, in comparison with the businesses that support vector search introduce later.

“Their suggestion is, 'We may also do a vector search if crucial,'” Zayarni said. “Our pitch is, 'We're doing advanced vector search in the easiest way possible.' It's about specialization. We actually recommend starting with the database you have already got in your tech stack. At some point, users will face limitations if vector search is a critical component of your solution.”


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