NoSQL vendor 10Gen secures $42M in fresh funding

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — 10Gen, one of the leading vendors of NoSQL database technologies, has secured $42 million in fresh funding from New Enterprise Associates and existing investors such as Sequoia Partners and Flybridge Capital.

10Gen will use the money to fund new development around its MongoDB database technology and to better support the company’s growing number of enterprise users, president Max Schireson said today. Since its inception in 2007, 10Gen has raised about $73 million from a slew of big name investors.

The investments are a reflection of what appears to be growing enterprise interest in MongoDB and in NoSQL technologies in general. 10Gen currently claims companies including Viacom, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, McKesson, MTV and The New York Times company among its rapidly growing list of enterprise customers.

10Gen currently has more than 400 commercial customers, many of them running MongoDB on 1000 or more servers, Schireson said. In the past one year, 10Gen has grown from a 20-person team to a 130-person organization, with hopes of hitting the 200-employee mark by the end of this year. Much of the momentum has come from what Schierson claimed is the scalability and the agility of MongoDB. NoSQL technologies such as MongoDB scale out horizontally instead of scaling up.

The database is designed to run on massive clusters of commodity hardware and can be easily scaled up by adding new systems to the cluster as needed. In a NoSQL database like MongoDB, data is grouped together by relevance and stored in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) pages rather than in tables and rows as it is with a relational database.

Typically, NoSQL databases allow data to be inserted without the need for a pre-defined database schema. NoSQL databases also allow for data formats to be changed at any time with little to no disruption to the application. The data model is designed to simplify coding and increase performance, according to Schireson. Typically, NoSQL technologies do not offer the same ACID (atomocity, consistency, isolation durability) properties offered by traditional RDBM platforms.

The technologies are comparatively less mature than incumbent relational database technologies thathave been around for decades. Even so, the ability of NoSQL databases to scale out horizontally and work well with huge amounts of data is making NoSQL increasingly popular for certain kinds of big data applications. Some examples include real-time ad targeting, social media monitoring, high frequency trading applications and web analytics.

“There are two things that are driving demand. Enterprises are looking for databases that are well suited to scale out on commodity hardware, so scalability is one big factor,” Schierson said. The second factor is MongoDB’s programming interface that makes it easier for developers to work with the technology compared to traditional relational database management systems, he said.

Other vendors of NoSQL technologies include Couchbase and DataStax, a company that sells and supports a commercial version of Apache Cassandra database. Like, 10Gen, both these companies have attracted a fair amount of investor interest as well. DataStax for instance has so far received about $11 million from investors while Couchbase has secured about $24 million in investor funds.

“The ‘big data’ space is hot because the world is generating more data than ever before,” said Luis Robles, a venture capitalist at Sequoia. “Industry analyst estimates vary, but many predict 40x growth in the amount of data being stored in the world by 2020,” Robles said by email. “[Eighty percent] of that data is unstructured or semi-structured: completely overflowing out of traditional databases, creating opportunities for new platforms.”

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