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In-Q-Tel stakes a claim in MongoDB, invests in 10gen

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The world just can’t seem to get enough of MongoDB, the popular NoSQL database. On Monday afternoon, its primary commercial developer 10gen announced a strategic investment from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. intelligence community. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, although they do include a technology development deal as well as the capital investment.

If you’re keeping track, the In-Q-Tel investment adds to the $73 million 10gen has already raised, including a $42 million round that closed last May. The company is in such demand because its product, the open source MongoDB, is very popular with developers building applications that utilize a NoSQL database rather than, or in addition to, a traditional relational database such as MySQL. Seemingly everyone — from one-man shops to Foursquare to Disney (s dis) — uses MongoDB, primarily as a part of their web application architectures or as the database layer in their big data stacks.

Still, MongoDB is not without its detractors. Although developers tend to love its API and its functionality in small deployments, they’re not always so keen on managing MongoDB environments once they begin to grow or when performance becomes a make-or-break issue. With its recent influx of cash, however, 10gen has vowed to keep working on its product’s shortcomings as it also grows its business.

As for In-Q-Tel, this is just the latest in a series of investments related, however loosely, to the big data trend. The firm’s other data-based investments include Cloudera, Platfora, Digital Reasoning, Recorded Future and Palantir Technologies.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user Elnur.

One Response to “In-Q-Tel stakes a claim in MongoDB, invests in 10gen”

  1. This is an interesting approach from US Government agencies which probably helps them a) justify using a product internally and b) help influence the development (at least from a high level) to make existing products more appropriate for high risk intelligence use cases. It also lends credibility to MongoDB as a viable product for larger deployments, particularly enterprise users who are traditionally slow to adopt new technologies.

    MongoDB gets a lot of negative attention in the tech community, particularly on Hacker News. I’d suggest this is usually unfair and stems from misunderstanding the product. This is partly the fault of the MongoDB project for not educating more but is mostly poor operations practices from those users. It’s also a good way to get traffic with a “why MongoDB sucks” post.

    This attention is natural for such a popular new technology – for every “why we moved from MongoDB” post there are countless more successful deployments. Server Density has been powered by MongoDB for over 3 years now processing over 12TB of data each month and although there have been problems, it has provided significantly easier scaling as we’ve grown.