ShardingSphere Enters the Apache Incubator as the First Distributed Database Middleware Project

Apache ShardingSphere
7 min readNov 27, 2018


On November 10, 2018 of American time, open-source distributed database middleware ecosystem ShardingSphere officially entered the Apache Incubator. According to the Apache mail list, ShardingSphere passed the vote with all 7 binding votes and 7 non-binding votes agreed, and no abstention vote or disagree vote.

Development History

As the first open-source distributed database middleware project that joins Apache, ShardingSphere has a rough development history full of challenges but vigor as well.

Sharding-JDBC, the predecessor of ShardingSphere, originated from a Dangdang’s internal application framework and open sourced at the beginning of 2016. In the following year, Sharding-JDBC gradually built mature and stable data sharding core functions. In 2017, Sharding-JDBC entered the 2.x age. The core function of this stage was database orchestration and we also formed a strategic cooperation relationship with Apache SkyWalking, an excellent APM product in China.

Just before the Spring Festival of 2018, Sharding-JDBC team recombined with JD Digital Technology, repositioned itself as the database middleware facing cloud native and officially changed its name to ShardingSphere. In June of that year, Bestpay Orange Finance, a subsidiary of China Telecom rejected new R&D vitality for ShardingSphere project to build its new future together. Following that, we shifted the center of ShardingSphere in new 3.x age to Sharidng-Proxy and the build of distributed transactions, and established a strategic partnership with Apache Service Comb community.

Seek for Reborn

In the principle of open source, community, geek and development, ShardingSphere has developed on the fertile earth of JD Group consistently and won the support and approval of relevant departments’ leaders. After solidifying the domestic user foundation, ShardingSphere seeks to join Apache Software Fund to deepen the construction of an open-source community path, make further progress in the open-source path and make contributions and create values for enterprises and individuals who love open source and have needs for distributed database use.

After early-stage exchanges and communications with ASF, the principle of ShardingSphere, Liang Zhang, led the team to build a deeper connection with ASF in many times and with JD Digital Technology’s force, brought ShardingSphere to the ASF open-source path in November, 2018. Eventually, on November 10, 2018, open-source distributed database middleware ecosystem ShardingSphere officially entered the Apache Incubator!

Facing this significant progress, main companies’ senior executives, strategic partners and supporters have sent their congratulations and expectations for its future development.

Glad to see ShardingSphere in Apache Incubator, congratulate Liang Zhang and contributors. I am very proud that ShardingSphere has been successfully promoted and landed in JD Digital Technology under the effort of Liang Zhang and the team. Joining in ASF is an important milestone as well as a new beginning. Hope to see more committers participate in the development of ShardingSphere community and the project graduate soon.

— Hao Zheng, Director of JD Digital Technology R&D Department

Knowing the message that ShardingSphere enters Apache Incubator, I cannot hide my excitement. I have known the project since Sharding-JDBC and seen its community develop and grow little by little, full of energy. I believe there will be more people and companies know its magic after its join in the incubator! Sincerely congratulations to ShardingSphere and Liang Zhang!

— Xiaohu Zhang, Senior Director of Orange Finance Technical Innovation Center

I was impressed by Liang Zhang’s devotion to the project when talking about ShardingSphere at the end of last year. I felt the pursuit of the technology and the love to the open source from ShardingSphere development team again when ServiceComb and ShardingSphere worked together to apply Saga distributed transaction execution engine in ShardingProxy in the middle of this year. As the mentor of ShardingSphere, I’m glad to see it in the big family of Apache Incubator. Hope ShardingSphere can thrive in the incubator, make a greater step to the international community and graduate soon!

— Ning Jiang, Principle of ServiceComb, Apache ShardingSphere (incubating) Mentor

As the prototype author of ShardingSphere project, I am so clear the values of the distributed database middleware solution.

That is why I started this project 4 years ago. So excited and grateful that ShardingSphere community grows well and project is being wide used, after open sourced in these 3 years. ShardingSphere is looking for the chance to join the Apache half year ago, prepares a lot for fitting Apache requirements and community based. Even I am out of source contributions long time ago, but I keep guiding the project for building its community, be glad to see it got in as expected. By having the experiences of Apache incubator, because of SkyWalking and Zipkin, I definely will try my best to help the project in the incubator as PPMC member and committer.

— Sheng Wu, Apache SkyWalking & ShardingSphere PPMC and Committer

In recent years, there have been more and more excellent projects that re-benefit the community in China, among which, Sharding-Sphere is an outstanding one. With a true heart to technologies and the open-source commitment, Liang has led talents at JD Digital Technology as well as in the industry to work together and overcome difficulties, and finally, pushed ShardingSphere into the gate of ASF. It is quite something deserves to cheer, congratulate and eulogize. The hardest part is always the beginning, then follows the middle, the end comes at last. Salute to soldiers who fight at the difficult forefront and explore forward.

— Qirong Liu, CTO of JD Digital Technology

ShardingSphere is a typical representative of open-source database middleware from China. It tries to solve some core problems such as the horizontal scaling and cloud migration faced by relational database under the CloudNative programming paradigm through a series of lightweight technical solutions. It has gone through the test of product application in many internet companies’ core links, including Dangdang, JD and others since its open source. With the overall upgrade and improvement of ShardingSphere 3.x in the first half of this year, its community has been developed so fast to a more comprehensive one-stop relational database solution. In addition to standard functions as data sharding and read-write split that are similar to Vitess, it also provides more functions in data orchestration, management, control and transactions. Especially distributed transactions in deep cooperation with Apache RocketMQ community can greatly solve the requirements of transactions in micro-services area. Now that ShardingSphere is contributed to ASF, I believe, in a more open, rigorous and inclusive culture, it can exert more force on ecosystem. Wish Liang and his team can have better international development.

— Jia Feng, Principle of Alibaba Messaging Open-Source Technology, Cofounder of Apache RocketMQ, Starter and Chairman of Linux OpenMessaging

Congratulations to ShardingSphere’s join in Apache Incubator with all votes passed. In recent few years, there have been more and more Chinese open-source software heading to the world, and open-source activities have been increasingly active in China. In the service-oriented and micro-services area, RPC, message and database middleware are three indispensable cornerstones. Expect Dubbo and ShardingSphere can cooperate further and develop further hand in hand in ASF. At last, congratulate Liang Zhang and ShardingSphere team, hope them to graduate soon.

— Yi Luo, Principle of Apache Dubbo

In the database area, middleware has always been people’s focus with a diverse of middleware products appearing all the time. ShardingSphere is one of them, a product with a long history and enormous users. I have been focusing on it since the earliest Sharding-JDBC. After the rename as ShardingSphere this year, it has made rapid and huge advances under the lead of Qirong Liu and Liang Zhang at JD Finance. So happy to hear that ShardingSphere has passed rounds of examinations and experts’ reviews and joined the big family of Apache Incubator. It is not only a significant milestone in the Chinese open-source database development path, but also has epic meaning in the whole independent controllable open-source software area. Wish ShardingSphere even better in the future!

— Yanwei Zhou, Founder and CEO of Cloud Ark, Oracle MySQL ACE Director, Chairman of CCIA Open-Source Database Committee

Currently, there are quite a lot of MySQL sharding middleware in China, while the sharding middleware of PostgreSQL mainly takes the form of newsql like citus or pg-xl abroad. Yesterday, I heard Qirong said that ShardingSphere open sourced by JD would be available for PG soon, so I was so glad and thankful for JD’s selfless contribution. Pger will have one more option when constructing database architecture. ShardingSphere for PG, inclusiveness brings greatness.

— Dege, Founder of PG China Community

Look towards the Future

Life is a journey against the wind, when you are not moving forward you are going backward. ShardingSphere will face new challenges and development after joining Apache. As the first JD Group led project that enters Apache Incubator, Apache ShardingSphere (incubating) has kindled a flame for JD Group’s path to open source and taken the responsibility to expand the voice from Chinese technical community to the world.

If you love open source and are interested in our project (, welcome to join us and become a code submitter to develop with us. Many a little makes a mickle. Every bit of the contribution will play its role in revitalizing the community.

Recent events:

Sharding-Sphere has been in progress continuously since 2016. And it has been recognized by more and more individuals and companies: we’ve got more than 5,000+ stars on Github, 1900+ forks. More than 60 companies are using it, which verifies the improvement of Sharding Sphere. Besides, more and more individuals and business have joined the Sharding-Sphere open source project, contributing to its growth and development.

We have been working on gathering your suggestions and developing powerful features to make Sharding Sphere more and more reliable and powerful!

We are looking forward to your attention and encouragement via sharing. Come on and join us!

For more information, you could visit our new website:

or Twitter: @ShardingSphere

If you like it, please give us a star on Github as encouragement.

The project address:

Thank you very much.



Apache ShardingSphere

Distributed SQL transaction & query engine for data sharding, scaling, encryption, and more - on any database.