MongoDB Has Poached One Of Oracle's Top Engineers

Larry Ellison OracleBusiness Insider/Julie BortOracle CEO Larry Ellison

Thirty-year Oracle veteran Roger Bamford has left Oracle for database upstart MongoDB.

Bamford was a key engineer who helped Oracle build its flagship database software and then went on to create other key database products. For instance, he was the guy behind something called “Oracle’s Real Application Clusters.”

This is one of the technologies that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison keeps talking up, making the latest version of database work well for cloud computing.

MongoDB is a different kind of database, born and raised to cloud computing as well as web apps and “big data” apps.

NoSQL began life as a supplement to a traditional “SQL” database like Oracle. NoSQL handles the kinds of things that Oracle (and other SQL databases) don’t do well. It can work with messy data like documents or tweets and can be used across clusters of low-cost computer servers.

Oracle’s database prefers the data to be neat and structured and all in one place. That’s why Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, to make bigger more powerful computer servers able to run bigger more powerful versions of its database.

Until recently, makers of noSQL databases said their tech didn’t really compete with Oracle’s because it fits different needs.

“Traditional relational databases are not going to go away,” Dwight Merriman, cofounder of MongoDB told Business Insider back in 2012.

MongoDB Roger BamfordLinkedIn/Roger BamfordMongoDB Roger Bamford

But lately other noSQL competitors have been challenging that perception, saying they are increasingly competing with Oracle and winning customers.

We’ve heard from one Oracle salesperson, too, who said she had a hard time selling an expensive Oracle database to midsize companies because they are often choosing MongoDB instead.

Oracle has responded by offering its own noSQL database, with mixed success. Oracle’s flagship database is by far the most popular database out there, but MongoDB is by far the most popular noSQL. MongoDB is No. 5, and the only noSQL database in the top five most popular databases, according to DB-Engines, a site that tracks such things.

Clearly Bamford’s head was turned. “There is a brand-new generation of databases being built and deployed to address today’s data challenges. I’ve witnessed the explosive adoption of MongoDB over the past few years and I’m excited to be part of the team that is revolutionizing how organisations build, manage and run applications,” said Bamford in the press release announcing his move.

He’s not alone. MongoDB has raised over $US230 million from a wide variety of investors, including Intel, EMC, Red Hat, and is thought to be marching toward an IPO.

Disclosure: Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan, the founders of MongoDB, are investors in Business Insider.

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