Monday, May 6, 2013

Thoughts on move to 10gen and MongoDB as NoSQL market leader

It has been a little over a month since I joined 10gen and I want to share some of my impressions now that some of the newness has worn off and I am settling into my role.  For context, in March I left Oracle and my position as Director of Product Management for the MySQL database to assume a similar role at 10gen working with MongoDB.  I still have many good friends and respected colleagues on the MySQL team and truly believe them and the MySQL product to be in good hands under Oracle.  That said, here are my thoughts on my move and on the database market as a whole (note the emphasis here is on use case vs proprietary and open source):

10gen reminds me very much of MySQL AB prior to the Sun acquisition. 
I joined MySQL in 2005, a full 3 years before the Sun acquisition. Back then, there was little distinction across the titles and roles within the MySQL team. Basically, everything that everybody did everyday made every bit of a difference. This meant that there was a cohesion across the entire team and that most tasks were met with a “can-do”, positive attitude by the owner or owners regardless of where they fell on the org chart. I see this same trait carried out in the 10geners I have been in contact with and hope it carries on even as the company continues to grow.

10gen places a huge importance on all employees having a working technical knowledge of its products. 
I joined 10gen with years of application and database development experience, mostly using relational models. While most concepts apply to a document-oriented model there are enough technical differences that leave me as a complete novice when it comes to specific MongoDB details and its practical use cases. I have spent my first month in a series of self-guided and instructor led technical training sessions and a practical, real-world bootcamp that have proven to be a welcome quickstart to my understanding and working with the technology. This will pay great dividends as I get more overwhelmed with my true PM duties.

MongoDB is winning the NoSQL database market. 
More importantly, in winning this market it is also winning many general use deployments and projects that have traditionally been implemented on other open source or proprietary rdbms solutions. How is this happening? It really boils down to a few simple, but important factors:
  • MongoDB is winning the hearts and minds of the developer.  By providing flexible, direct access to schema and data definition via JSON, there is little/no developer learning curve when moving between application development and data definition and management. 
  • MongoDB is a true “hero” maker.  Replication and cluster based sharding are designed as the default deployments and are comparatively simple to implement. Developers can add HA scalability to their upfront deployment plan without adding pain to a DBA or Sysadmin’s life, which is a huge advantage over other databases’ modus operandi. 
  • MongoDB users leverage > 90% of its functionality.  Without the complexity and overhead of unneeded features. On the flipside most Oracle, SQL Server users/applications leverage < 20% of features while paying for them all. These things, along with the tremendous momentum around downloads, user events, big name community and customer success stories are good indicators that MongoDB is poised to not only win the NoSQL database market, but the overall database market in due time.  
  • It took Oracle 30 years to build an empire; I believe 10gen + MongoDB can do better for both community users and paying customers in a much shorter timeframe if we remain focused on and true to the points noted above. 
One final thought.  I have gained a true appreciation and respect for Eliot, Dwight, Max and the other executive level leaders of the 10gen business. They are clear in their ambitions for MongoDB and any supporting products that come out of 10gen in the days, months and years to come. They are on public record as saying that 10gen’s goal is to build a sustainable investment and business around the best and most widely used general use database in world. That long term mentality, with many small sprints factored in along the way, is what excites me most about my move to the 10gen team.

Cheers, from 10gen employee/partner #237! Very excited to be here.

1 comment:

Luca Casali said...

Rob thanks for this article that make me really proud of having choose mongodb for our products since last year.
Keep it simple and powerfull as it is now!
You're right about the number of unsed and complex features oracle and sql server have!