10gen, Babble, MongoDB and the changing nature of the database

Back in July last year we reported on the formation of a new open source cloud computing start-up called 10gen on our Cloud Cover and CAOS Theory blogs.

Seven months later and there have been a few changes at 10gen, such that this information management blog is arguably the most suitable venue for discussion of the implications of 10gen’s MongoDB, the cloud computing database which has now become its major focus.

A quick recap: 10gen launched as an open source platform-as-a-service play offering the MongoDB object database as well as an application server and file system. So far, so cloud stack.

However, the file system quickly became an interface layer to MongoDB while the company more recently decided that its application server runtime and MongoDB are better off apart and shifted its attention to the database, a standalone beta version of which was released last week.

As the two projects have diverged so will this post. To continue reading about the future of the Babble application server head for CAOS Theory, otherwise:

As this post from Geir Magnusson Jr, 10gen VP of Engineering & Co-Founder, at Codehaus describes, MongoDB is not your traditional database.

“As I argue when people give me the chance to speak about it, databases are changing – just look at what is available in the so-called “cloud” arena. It tends not to be a RDBMS if it’s scalable. The storage engine under AppEngine, or Amazon’s SimpleDB, or any of the Dynamo implementations, etc, all of which change your programming model to one that isn’t “tables and joins”. Or look at the excellent CouchDB, a JSON store. If the RDBMS isn’t being replaced outright (like it has to be in “the cloud”), it can to be augmented with other persistence technologies that are better suited for a portion of the data requirements of a system.”

This was one of the themes of my talk at our client event in Boston last year, and nothing has happened since then to change my mind. As Geir explains, the interesting thing about the new cloud databases (for want of a better term) is that they force users to think differently about what a database is for – and specifically to think beyond the realms of the relational.

We see similar forces at work in the data warehousing space driven by column-oriented architectures, but the end result is the same as users are increasingly thinking beyond what already know to consider the best database management tools for the job at hand.

As Geir adds of MongoDB: “It works fine as a database, but you can’t think relational. If you want to just replace MySQL with something else, but don’t want to rethink your data model, MongoDB isn’t for you.”

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 451 CAOS Theory » 10gen, Babble, MongoDB and open source longevity on 02.18.09 at 9:26 am

[…] projects have diverged so will this post. To continue reading about the future of MongoDB head for Too Much Information, […]