In a sign of the growing enterprise interest in new technologies for big data applications, NoSQL database vendor MongoDB has raised $150 million in a fresh round of funding from several major firms including Salesforce.com, Intel Capital and Sequoia Capital.
With the new funds, MongoDB has so far raised $231 million from investors since launching in 2007. The latest round is one of the largest single funding rounds for a database company and makes MongoDB one of the best-funded big data startups in the market. MongoDB used to be known as 10Gen but changed its name last month.
According to CEO Max Schireson, the funds will be invested in further developing the company's core MongoDB database as well as on new tools and services designed to scale out the technology. The funds will also be used to enhance MongoDB's customer support capabilities worldwide.
From an investor standpoint, MongoDB has proved to be a disruptive technology in the database marketplace, Schireson said in an interview with Computerworld on Friday. Much of the early interest in MongoDB came from Web companies, but over the past year, traditional enterprise customers have also shown enormous interest, he said.
Major companies such as MetLife, Goldman Sachs and numerous others are using MongoDB to bring together and manage vast amounts of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data in a manner not supported by current relational database management technologies, Schireson said. Some of the common use cases for the technology include web analytics, content management and delivery, and applications for high frequency trading and mobile and social infrastructure management.
MongoDB's success in attracting close to quarter-of-a-billion dollars in investor money is a sign of the growing enterprise interest in alternatives to traditional relational database technologies for an emerging class of applications, said Merv Adrian, a Gartner analyst.
The database is designed in a way that allows the data to be inserted into the database without the need for a pre-defined database schema. NoSQL document-oriented databases such as MongoDB also allow data formats to be changed at any time with little or no disruption to the application.
The data model is designed to make it easier for developers to write applications that take advantage of large and highly varied datasets, Schireson said.
NoSQL document-oriented database technologies are relatively new and don't always offer the same kind of reliability properties offered by traditional RDBM technologies. Even so, they are well-suited "for a growing set of use cases that are not particularly well-serviced," by older database technologies, Adrian noted.
Document databases are very good at mashing things up, Adrian said. They offer a way for companies to combine datasets and get new value from huge amounts of data.
With more than 320 employees and offices in multiple locations around the world, MongoDB is one of the larger vendors of NoSQL technologies. The company's major rivals include Couchbase and MarkLogic, both of which have built impressive client lists in recent years, Adrian said.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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