MongoDB NoSQL Database Poised For Takeoff - InformationWeek
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Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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MongoDB NoSQL Database Poised For Takeoff

10Gen, the developer behind MongoDB, lands $42 million in venture money to fund development of enterprise-oriented features and upgrades.

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Performance and scalability are table stakes in the big-data market. To stand out, products and vendors have to offer something more. For MongoDB, that something extra is ease of use and speed of development, according to 10Gen, the company that developed the NoSQL database, and it says these qualities have put the product at the head of the pack in a fast-growing market.

Once a big-data product starts gaining adoption, the next step for promoters is to help it go mainstream by adding all the deep management and security features that enterprise IT shops want. 10Gen reached an important milestone on that front on Tuesday, announcing that it has secured $42 million in new venture capital financing. It's an infusion of cash that will fund a lot of development work.

The latest round of financing, 10Gen's fifth since the company's launch in 2008, was led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Flybridge Capital, and Union Square Ventures.

It's a vote of confidence in a product that 10Gen claims holds nearly half the NoSQL market. Definitive market share statistics are hard to come by, but the company points to research by the 451 Group that shows that MongoDB has three to four times the number of developers, some 12,000, than competitors Redis, Apache (Hadoop) HBase, CouchDB, or Apache Cassandra.

[ Want more on NoSQL databases? Read HBase: Hadoop's Next Big Data Chapter. ]

10Gen says it has more than 500 paying customers on its subscriber-edition of MongoDB and more than 5,000 organizations are using its free MongoDB Monitoring Service (MMS) to scrutinize subscriber and open-source deployments of the database. 10Gen differs from support, training, and consulting organizations, such as Cloudera or DataStax, in that it is also the developer of the open-source product that it supports.

"Some big corporations are still nervous about open-source software, but because we created the database and own the code, we can make it available both through both open-source and commercial licensing," said Max Schireson, President of 10Gen, in an interview with InformationWeek.

GNU-licensed MongoDB has a strong open-source community, says Schireson, but there are signs that community could ultimately be eclipsed by that of HBase, the NoSQL database within the Hadoop Framework. With Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, and others distributing code and otherwise supporting Hadoop, HBase can feed off a large and competitive community while also taking advantage of the ever-growing data stores held in Hadoop deployments.

Like other NoSQL databases, MongoDB gives users the flexibility to store and recall any type of data without the rigid constraints of columns and rows. That means you can add new data types--including complex data and loosely structured textual information--without conforming it to a predefined schema. In contrast, the schemas behind conventional relational databases such as IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle database have to be revised with each change in dimensions.

NoSQL databases are a favorite with businesses such as large-scale Web companies that deal with complex and variable data sources such as clickstreams, Web logs, and social-media data feeds. 10Gen's customer base includes the likes of Craigslist, eBay, Foursquare, Shutterfly and Wordnik. But as MongoDB has matured, it has also gained traction with mainstream media companies such as Viacom and Disney, telcos such as Telephonica, tech giants Cisco and Intuit, and even government agencies in the U.K. and India.

At last week's packed MongoNYC event at the Pennsylvania Hotel near Madison Square Garden, I spotted a few representatives of big banks (like Goldman Sachs) among the more than 900 people in attendance. The list of customers presenting included speakers from The New York Times and Forbes, who touted MongoDB's versatility and ease of use during a panel discussion about online media's use of the database.

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