MongoDB sets its sights beyond NoSQL competitors

The NoSQL database is challenging rivals like Oracle MySQL and IBM DB2

Can MongoDB, the popular NoSQL database, give Oracle, MySQL, or other relational databases a run for their money? Observers definitely see MongoDB finding its niche.

The open source document data store is gaining interest from developers and has sprouted its own ecosystem. Proponents like the database's scalability in particular. "The main benefit for us is that we can update 2,500, 3,000 times a second on the fly, no problem," says Ryan Jarvis, a developer at online ad platform Life Mobile, which selected MongoDB about eight months ago. "It's very easy to scale horizontally."'

Dwight Merriman, chairman and co-founder of 10gen, which is billed as the "MongoDB company," sees MongoDB competing with rival databases like Oracle or IBM DB2. But he adds that MongoDB has been prevalent in new projects. "There will still be a place for the relational database in the enterprise. One-size-fits-all is over."

MongoDB has been downloaded an estimated 4 million times, Merriman says. The project looks to reinvent and innovate in the data storage space and be suitable for serious problems, like Linux is, Merriman said at the MongoDB San Francisco conference late last week.

Version 2.6 of the general-purpose database, due at the end of the year, is slated to offer lower replication overhead and capabilities for access control and background indexing. Subsequent versions will feature MapReduce capabilities and improvements in storage, concurrency, security, and auditing, with the goals of offering incremental refactoring and making operations easier and simpler taking high priority.

"Oracle should be a little scared," of the competitive threat MongoDB presents, says Will Shulman, CEO of Mongolab, which provides cloud-based MongoDB services. MongoDB, he says, is "really becoming more of a competitor to [Oracle-owned] MySQL than it is competing with the other NoSQL stuff." MongoDB's object-oriented database capabilities enable it to scale even for small data sets, Shulman says.

MongoDB attracted great interest from one conference attendee who was kicking the tires on it. "So far, it looks great, and I have friends that use it and they like it," says Steve Best, senior systems administrator at mobile software developer Application Development Factory. The company is evaluating MongoDB and may use it to complement or replace MySQL. "It looks like they've got all the bases covered as far as querying and indexing and all that stuff."

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