A different perspective on NoSQL vendor traction

Amid the reporting of 10gen’s $42m funding round yesterday a specific claim about 10gen’s success to date caught my eye.

“10gen says it’s got about half the NoSQL market wrapped up already. This is based on… indicators, such as how often LinkedIn profiles mention MongoDB.”

While our own analysis of LinkedIn profiles did indeed indicate that 10gen has a sizeable lead over its NoSQL rivals, this only accounts for the NoSQL market *to date*, and the NoSQL vendors have barely scratched the surface.

451 Research recently estimated that NoSQL software vendors between them generated revenue of just $20m in 2011 (less than half 10gen’s latest funding round), and that the market will grow at a CAGR of 82% to reach $215m by 2015.

10gen is well placed to capitalize on this growth given its customer and revenue traction to date. While we are not breaking out individual revenue estimates the chart below shows revenue and customer estimates for 10gen, Basho, Couchbase and DataStax, with the scale adjusted to fit on a single chart.

The chart appears to confirm 10gen’s claim to have half the NoSQL market wrapped up, at least in terms of customers. However, what this chart doesn’t address is the relative strategy stage of each vendor in terms of customer traction.

10gen has done extremely well in growing a large customer base via its focus on ease of developer adoption, and is now turning its attention to the sort of capabilities required by traditional enterprises.

Other vendors in the NoSQL space have done precisely the opposite: starting with enterprise capabilities and now turning their attention to greater ease of use and developer adoption.

We can begin to get a sense of how these strategies are playing out if we add a column for revenue per customer (again re-scaled). Here you can see that 10gen is actually doing less well than some of its rivals.

The size of the MongoDB installed base gives 10gen a big opportunity to aim at, but others are arguably ahead in terms of traction with enterprise customers. That’s why our market sizing methodology is specifically designed to take multiple (sometimes conflicting) factors into account in creating an estimate for each vendor, as well as the aggregate total.

10gen may well have about half the current NoSQL market wrapped up but this market has really only just begun.

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