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MongoDB Inc. Worth $1.2 Billion, Are They the Next Oracle?

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MongoDB (formerly 10gen) just became the most valuable tech startup in New York, beating out more well-known companies like Gilt, Foursquare, and Etsy.  They're also worth more than the cost of Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo this year.

This new valuation of $1.2 billion is due to a new round of venture funding, totalling $150 million.  For the month of October, MongoDB remains at #6 on the overall rankings.  It's the only NoSQL database in the top 10, because Cassandra was knocked back down to 11 on the charts. 

So is MongoDB a company that Oracle should look out for?  If you look at the ruling Triumvirate of databases on DB-Engines, Oracle, MySQL, and MS SQL Server have an overwhelming lead.  Seems like it could be a few more years before there are enough applications out there that really need NoSQL.


Jilles Van Gurp replied on Mon, 2013/10/07 - 2:02pm

It's not so much about needing nosql and more a matter of convenience for a lot of people. For a lot of companies, using nosql in new projects is becoming sort of a no brainer. Products like mongodb, elastic search, couchbase, riak, and others have a huge mindshare and for a lot of younger developers using those products as opposed to legacy products such as Oracle or MS SQL is just a natural thing to do for them.

Oracle should definitely pay some attention. NOSQL products challenge Oracle both from a technical perspective and a business perspective. Oracle is all about expensive licensing and support contracts around proprietary software stacks. Customers need to make big commitments before they even get to engage with Oracle. As a consequence, most programmers don't ever go near any Oracle products until they have a boss paying for that. MongoDB and other nosql solutions on the other hand are readily accessible and commonly used in both academia and industry. Chances are recent graduates are a lot more comfortable with that type of technology. Combined with the technical advantages of these products, it makes Oracle a very hard sell in a lot of places where it would have been a no brainer just a few years ago.

Oracle still has a lot of technology but the question is whether they can modernize their business or whether they will allow them selves to be positioned as a legacy technology support company instead. My guess is that eventually they'll become  a services company like IBM where it is no longer about the technology and just about milking corporations for licensing and consulting fees.

Mitch Pronschinske replied on Mon, 2013/10/07 - 2:56pm in response to: Jilles Van Gurp

A thousand times yes, Jilles.  And I think in the RDBMS space, PostgreSQL is the favorite of newer programmer generations.  Ruby devs love to deploy to Heroku, and Heroku uses Postgres by default.

Gaetan Voyer-pe... replied on Fri, 2013/10/11 - 12:45pm

MongoDB wants to think they are the next Oracle. In fact, they have lots of ex-Oracle staff on their sales and admin team.

However, the best they can do in the next 5 years is eat into Oracle's market share by undercutting their prices on DB products. Of course, Oracle does more than just sell DB products and they have time to develop a Document-Oriented store of their own at a competitive price. Plus, the MongoDB wire spec is open-sourced, so it's very possible to build a drop-in replacement engine that accepts commands from a MongoDB driver.

In fact, it looks like someone has already written one for Riak:

Don't get me wrong, MongoDB is a popular product and will continue to see lots of growth, but it's nowhere near as lucrative as Oracle.

Jilles Van Gurp replied on Fri, 2013/10/11 - 1:14pm in response to: Mitch Pronschinske

If you are into RDBMS, postgresql is indeed a fine choice. The real question is how valuable the RDBMS paradigm is to begin with. Just looking at the way people deploy mysql, you might make the point that things like strong ACID semantics, transactions, etc. are only part of the story here. If you'd really care about those things, you'd indeed pick postgresql or one of the proprietary vendors. There are some qualities beyond ACID that factor into this. For example, replication, sharding, and ease of management & deployment are big items. Just look at the stuff Amazon offers, transactions are not a big keyword in their pitch. Also, famously, they refactored early on around the notion of having strong checks & recovery logic rather than stop the world type database transactions.

I've been quite infatuated with elastic search lately. I use it as a non transactional key value store that just happens to implement a really powerful querying mechanism as well. Most of what it does you wouldn't find in traditional RBMS products or at best would be very hard to do. Yet it is undeniably somewhat weak on ACID and there are definitely no transactions. IMHO a fair tradeoff given that few similarly scaleable distributed products offer this (if any at all), but people might beg to differ.

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