As a long-time consumer of ISAM, relational, object and other databases, Rich Hickey has shared the pain points of developers in dealing with databases. With a new perspective, informed by the principles of functional programming, and hardware advances that have happened since relational, client-server databases were invented, he decided to design a new kind of database.
Looking around the landscape, he saw that modern database and key-store developers were making tradeoffs they might not have to; sacrificing queries, joins and ACID transactions in pursuit of flexibility, scalability and speed. He thought there was a better way; Datomic is that way.
In 2010, Rich and Relevance partnered to bring his vision to life. Stuart Halloway, already a committer on Clojure and a colleague of Rich's, led the charge on the Relevance side, not only coming on as a programmer to the project but managing a team of other contributors from within Relevance to help Rich get from design to product.