Over the past two years, Cloudera has demonstrated the power of surrounding emerging open source software with support services, expertise and its own IP. The firm has racked up over 30 customers since its founding in late 2008, and emerged as the leading source of Apache Hadoop. Cloudera’s recent C round of financing brought its funding to $36 million, and it has been investing aggressively, with 45 employees, a very visible voice on the Big Data circuit and a stellar, experienced leadership team. It evangelizes through training, thought leadership, and increasingly through a growing sales and marketing team. Cloudera deserves a full post of its own; I hope to get to that before yearend.
One indicator of Cloudera’s precocity has been its prioritization of key alliances – higher than many firms its size – and that strategy is likely to have a big payoff if the partnerships are well executed and bring the marketplace momentum and the value they promise to fruition. Two key recent announcements involved Membase and Informatica. I’ll discuss the latter in another post – here I’ll talk about why the Membase deal makes so much sense.
Membase (formerly Northscale) is a player in the NoSQL movement, a competitor of MongoDB, Apache Cassandra, and Riak. Like Cloudera, Membase Server is built upon a commercialization and extension of an open source project, in this case memcached, a distributed memory object caching system used to parallelize database activities for web apps. memcached is in wide enough use with MySQL that the latter’s manual provides documentation on how to use them together; Membase also markets a commercial version of memcached. Membase’s premise is simple: add a key-value store for persistence to replace the RDBMS in use today for the overwhelming majority of web applications. The company was founded in January 2009, and has also been effective at raising funds, with a $15M round under its belt. Mike Olson, CEO of Cloudera, is on the board, and like Cloudera, Membase has assembled an experienced team for its run at the emerging space.
But what space are we talking about? Co-founder and SVP of Products James Phillips is quite eloquent in a recent blog post that acknowledges “NoSQL” is a lousy name for it – no better than “Big Data.” He offers a different way – or set of ways – to think about these offerings: