As we’ve written before, IBM has the broadest and deepest portfolio of Big Data products and services on the market. That said, Big Blue had no play in NoSQL. It supports Apache HBase via its Big Insights platform, but IBM customers that want to leverage NoSQL to support mission critical web and mobile application development must look elsewhere.
It’s against this backdrop that IBM announced a partnership with 10gen, the New York City-based company that is commercializing open source MongoDB. MongoDB is the most widely used NoSQL database and is extremely popular with mobile developers due to its easy-to-use programming language. IBM and 10gen are jointly creating a new standard based on BSON, the MongoDB wire protocol and the MongoDB query language that will allow applications built on MongoDB to access data stored in IBM DB2 and IBM WebSphere Extreme Scale. To do so, developers will use IBM Eclipse tools with IBM Worklight Studio to integrate the MongoDB API.
The new standard is set to debut in approximately one month (July 2013).
The partnership makes sense for IBM for three reasons. First, it reduces pressure on IBM to develop its own NoSQL offering to support mobile application development, at least temporarily. Second, it fits neatly with IBM’s MobileFirst initiative. And third, it aligns well with IBM’s planned acquisition of cloud provider SoftLayer, which itself partners with 10gen to host MongoDB-based mobile applications.
For 10gen, the IBM partnership exposes its offerings to a much wider potential enterprise customer base. The new standard and integration with DB2 should also move MongoDB further down the road to full ACID compliance, a lack of which is a main impediment to NoSQL adoption to support mission critical applications. Most NoSQL data stores trade ACID compliance for extreme scalability and schema flexibility.
Action Item: IBM DB2 customers looking to develop mobile applications should evaluate the new standard upon its release and conduct vigorous testing before rolling our mobile applications into production. Developing a comprehensive mobile application strategy also requires other considerations beyond the database, including multi-platform support and user experience design.