June 20, 2017

MongoDB Takes Another Big Step Into Clouds

Alex Woodie

(Bedrin/Shutterstock)

MongoDB today took a big step toward achieving its goal ultimate cloud goal when it announced that its Atlas NoSQL database service now runs on Google and Microsoft clouds, in addition to AWS. It also announced the public beta of Stitch, a new backend as a service offering designed to simplify life for developers even more.

The cloud looms large in the life of MongoDB, as it does for practically any vendor selling data management software these days. The continued decline of cloud storage and processing costs coupled with the growing data gravity of the cloud means companies are moving operational and analytical workloads to the cloud in ever-greater numbers. In response, vendors up and down the stack – from database and middleware vendors to application developers – are moving with them.

MongoDB dipped its toe into the cloud with last year’s launch of Cloud Atlas, a fully managed version of MongoDB that runs in the Amazon Web Services cloud. Since unveiling Atlas at last year’s MongoDB World, MongoDB has racked up more than 2,000 Atlas customers, according to Brooks Crichlow, vice president of product marketing for the New York City company.

Now MongoDB is branching out to the other two major cloud platforms, and supporting Cloud Atlas on Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. It’s all a part of MongoDB’s plan to provide customers with choice when it comes to the cloud, Crichlow says.

“It comes with all the goodness of Atlas and the goodness of MongoDB,” he tells Datanami. “The teams on Google Compute Engine or Azure get the same productivity benefits from MongoDB, including the flexible data model and expressive query language, but they get it on their preferred public cloud and they can do so globally.”

Cloud Atlas on Azure and GCE also helps MongoDB customers from being locked into a single vendor’s cloud. “And it paves the foundation for cross region capability within in the cloud and ultimately delivering on our vision for providing a globally distributed database delivered across any major any cloud platform,” Crichlow adds.

That capability is not there yet. But now that Cloud Atlas runs across AWS, Azure, and GCE, you can bet that MongoDB’s developers are working on giving customers the capability to have a single database span multiple physical locations – both within a single vendor’s cloud and even among multiple member’s cloud.

“Our vision is to offer our customers the ability to have a database that’s distributed globally across the cloud providers,” Crichlow says, “but that’s not what we’re launching today.”

The database as a service (DaaS) market is growing quickly. In a 2016 report, The 451 Group predicts that revenue from data as a service market will grow from $2.8 billion in 2015 to $19 billion by 2020, a 46% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Growth of the cloud database as a service (DBaaS) market (Source: The 451 Group

“Cost avoidance and cost savings are an obvious primary driver for greater adoption, but operational efficiency, reduced administration overheads and faster time to development will also drive greater adoption,” the 451 Group says in its report.

While it’s sure to gain visibility among the cloud set with Atlas, MongoDB seems to be doing its best to hide its eponymous NoSQL database from developers with Stitch, a new “backend as a service” that MongoDB announced is now in public beta.

Stitch builds on top of Atlas by adding a range of pre-built integration points to other applications, as well as providing pre-configured authentication and security settings. All developers need to worry about is incorporating MongoDB’s RESTful interface into their applications so it can read and write to the cloud database.

“We describe Stitch as a backend as a service because it’s focused not just on the database, but on a whole set of complementary things that you need to be doing in the backend to serve your application, everything from authentication to messaging to payments,” Crichlow says. “Instead of having to write the code integrate, you just declare you want to use Twilio for messaging, Stripe for payments, and Slack for communications, etc. It just streamlines that whole effort so you spend less time doing it and more time working on the front end.”

Stitch also retains full access to the MongoDB database — an important point, Crichlow notes, because Stitch’s main competitor, Google Firebase, restricts access to the underlying database. “It [Firebase] constrains what you can do through the database,” he says. “So for people who believe data is strategic asset and they want to have a lot ability to work with tit, it’s beneficial to have full access to the database.”

The public GA of Stitch runs only on AWS at this point, but the plan calls for MongoDB to support other clouds as well.

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