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Welcome to NoSQL, Oracle – we’ve been expecting you.

Bob Wiederhold of Couchbase Published

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Oracle’s entry into the NoSQL market, announced yesterday at Oracle OpenWorld, isn’t at all surprising to anyone who believes, like we do, that NoSQL is destined to be a disruptive force in the database market and eventually make up a significant percentage of its sales. In fact Oracle’s entry is another clear indication that powerful trends like Big Data, Big Users, Cloud, and Mobile Computing are driving the adoption of NoSQL and that early adopters in key market segments are already rapidly moving to NoSQL technology. Oracle had to get into the market, not because NoSQL is a threat to its existing business but rather because to ignore NoSQL is to risk being designed out of a whole new generation of applications that is now forming the future of computing.

For those who have been skeptical of NoSQL’s long-term place in the database industry and preferred to think of it as a niche technology, Oracle’s announcement should make clear that NoSQL is not a fad.  Oracle is a deservedly well-respected company that does not enter markets lightly and has no interest in participating in small niche markets. Clearly, Oracle’s market entry signals that one of the original skeptics has rethought the importance of NoSQL. I suspect it is no coincidence that Oracle’s entrance coincides with the growing interest in NoSQL on the part of enterprises.

For the NoSQL industry, Oracle’s entry is clearly a welcome milestone. Anyone who believed NoSQL would grow to be a big industry knew that Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft would eventually enter the market and Oracle’s entry signals the official arrival of the NoSQL industry into the mainstream.

While Oracle is a formidable competitor in any market where it chooses to compete, it will not find the NOSQL market an easy place to succeed. Couchbase, 10gen, Basho, and DataStax (just to name a few) have put in place strong teams of maniacally focused software developers that are rapidly evolving their products as well as customer support teams that are rapidly building invaluable best practice expertise. This focus will be difficult for Oracle to duplicate as a multi-billion dollar company that derives the vast majority of its business from something other than NoSQL. Further, the open source development and business model that has dominated the NoSQL market will challenge Oracle’s DNA as a proprietary software company – despite Oracle’s recent attempts to be friendlier to open source approaches. In the end, customers will, of course, make decisions on the strength of the products and support provided by different vendors.

So, welcome, Oracle!  We’ve been expecting your arrival to what we believe will be a large, thriving NoSQL market.

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