Michael Stonebraker joined Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1971. There he started working on relational databases in the Ingres and Postgres projects.
Stonebraker and his colleague Eugene Wong in 1973 decided to start researching relational database systems after reading a series of papers published by Edgar F. Codd. Their project, known as Ingres (Interactive Graphics and Retrieval System) was one of the first systems to demonstrate that it was possible to build a practical and efficient realization of the relational model. A number of key ideas from Ingres are still widely used in relational systems.
Stonebraker and two professors from Berkeley Larry Rowe and Eugene Wong helped found Relational Technology, Inc., later called Ingres Corporation, which was later sold to Computer Associates. Ingres was re-established as an independent company in 2005.
After founding Relational Technology Stonebraker and Rowe began a "post-INGRES" work, to deal with the limitations of the relational model. The new project was named Postgres. It was designed to add support for complex data types to database systems and improve end-to-end performance of data-intensive applications.
After the Postgres project, Stonebraker initiated the Mariposa project which became the basis of Cohera Corporation. The main idea behind Mariposa was to build a huge database, in which data would be distributed between a large number of organizations, could be integrated from a single relational interface, governed by site-specific policies that would charge for data processing and storage.
In 2001 Stonebraker started working at the MIT, where he began another series of research projects and founded a number of companies.
At the MIT Stonebraker along with colleagues from Brandeis University, Brown University, and MIT started the Aurora Project. And in 2003 Stonebraker co-founded StreamBase Systems to commercialize the technology of Aurora.
Another project, C-Store, was started in 2005 by Stonebraker and his colleagues from Brandeis University, Brown University, MIT, and University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2005 Stonebraker co-founded Vertica to commercialize the technology of C-Store. (Some time after Vertica Systems was acquired by Hewlett-Packard)
Starting from 2006 Stonebraker developed a number of other projects: Morpheus, H-Store, SciDB, NoSQL and found two more companies: Goby and VoltDB.