Entries from February 2011 ↓

Webinar: NoSQL and Hadoop in action at AOL

Next Thursday, February 24 (at 10am PT), I’ll be taking part in a webinar with Pero Subasic, Chief Architect, AOL to discuss the use cases for NoSQL database and Hadoop.

More specifically, Pero will be presenting how AOL Advertising leverages Hadoop and Membase NoSQL database technology to rapidly process operational user data to achieve sub-millisecond performance. Before that, I will be providing some context with a presentation about the changing data management landscape, the drivers behind the adoption of NoSQL databases and Hadoop, and their respective use cases.

My presentation provides a sneak peak into our ongoing research into the drivers and use cases for emerging database technologies, which will be delivered in a new long format report due in early April.

Following Pero’s presentation we will be joined by executives from Couchbase and Cloudera to answer any questions. You can register for the event here, while Couchbase’s James Phillips has provided a taster of what to expect here.

NoSQL consolidation begins…

The predicted consolidation of the NoSQL database landscape has begun. Membase and CouchOne have announced that they are merging to form Couchbase.

And in more interesting NoSQL news, Danish IT company Trifork has announced that it has acquired an 8% stake in Basho as part of the NoSQL vendor’s $7.4m series D round, and has become the European distributor for Riak.

The formation of Couchbase brings together to of the leading companies in the NoSQL space, and the complementary nature of the their technology and business plans highlights that the term NoSQL has been applied to many different database technologies which are being adopted for different reasons.

While Membase had focused on improving the performance of distributed applications through its Membase Server distributed database, CouchOne focused on developer interest in flexible document data stores and mobile applications, rather than performance at scale.

Additionally while Membase was focused on operational adoption with a small (albeit significant) developer community, the priority with CouchOne has been on growing adoption of Apache CouchDB, with commercial efforts only recently becoming the focus of attention.

The technology is also complementary. Couchbase will combine the Membase and CouchDB projects to form a new distributed document store project of the same name that combines the caching and clustering technology of Membase with the CouchDB document data store.

The result will be a new distributed document database covering a variety of use cases from mobile applications (Mobile Couchbase) to scalable clusters (Elastic Couchbase), with synchronization of data between the various Couchbase implementations enabled by CouchSync.

The merged company will be led by Bob Weiderhold, formerly CEO of Membase, while Damien Katz, formerly CEO of CouchOne and creator of the CouchDB database, becomes CTO.

Couchbase is claiming more than 200 customers, which would indicate phenomenal growth for both companies since the launch of their CouchOne Mobile and Membase Server products in September and October 2010 respectively.

Prior to the launch of those products they previously claimed just a handful of customers each, although CouchOne had signed up thousands of users to its free hosted services, so it had a large and willing audience ready for conversion.

Additionally the company claims millions of combined users since CouchDB has been included in every installation of the Ubuntu Linux distribution since late 2009 and Heroku (now part of Salesforce.com) offers a Membase-driven service to thousands of its hosting customers.

We previously predicted that we would see the NoSQL market both consolidate and proliferate this year, and it is worth noting that the merger of CouchOne and Membase will not result in a similar consolidation of open source projects.

While Couchbase.org can be expected to replace membase.org over time, the Couchbase project will be independent of the Apache CouchDB, which will not be impacted by the merger. Couchbase will continue to contribute to both CouchDB and also the memcached project.

While we’re on the subject of NoSQL, it is also interesting to see that Danish IT vendor Trifork has not only signed up to be European distributor of the Riak database, but has also taken a stake in Basho Technologies.

Trifork has acquired newly issued shares in Basho representing 8.35% of the company as part of its series D round, with an option to acquire an additional 3.96% at the end of Q1 2011.

LegalTech 2011 thoughts

This year’s main LegalTech show is now over – three days in wintry New York City and all the challenges that brings. Before I head back to London, here are my quick thoughts.

I managed to shoehorn 24 meetings into my time at the Hilton and only managed to see one session, Chris Dale’s judge’s panel at the end, which was performed as a play, and very good it was too!  Not sure if anyone managed to get a picture of Judge Simon Brown brandishing a copy of e-Discovery for Dummies (he was making a point, rather than consulting it for advice, obviously!) but it would make for an amusing image.

I initially was swamped with vendors showing me new user interfaces rather than underlying innovations in their engines, however there were a few innovative things to note. I’ll put more of that in a longer note for our clients shortly.

I was struck by the number of software and service providers landing or expanding in the UK. They clearly see it as a growth opportunity in itself and of course a bridgehead to the broader EU market. They’re also curious about the risks and opportunities caused by the introduction in April of the UK Bribery Act.

Service providers are placing a bit less emphasis on self-built technology in the past, more settling on the best of breed tools.

Billing by the hour is passé it is almost all volume based pricing, or at least volume-based or flat rate pricing is almost always offered.
On the technology front, if your processing engine can’t process 1TB a day, you’re falling behind the curve.

And coming back to the user interface point at the start. It’s worth remembering amongst all this technology that for many lawyers, a new UI is what they really need right now. They are finding it hard to keep up with the latest text analysis tools and are being assaulted from so many angles with technology, competition, the threat to their business caused by in-sourcing of e-Discovery that some really do want just a well-designed user interface on their review tool that clearly shows how much the review will cost and  how far along its progressed.