Winning awards is always fun. Over the years, companies I’ve been part of have won their fair share. But not all awards are created equal. Some definitely carry more weight than others, and I put the IDC Innovative Company to Watch award in this category. The fact that IDC does extensive research on the markets they address, talks regularly to a broad set of vendors and customers, and has a rigorous process for award selection all brings great credibility to the award. The award certainly has great meaning for us and I suspect this is also true for organizations who are thinking through what database to use for their next project. As a small company it’s always a challenge to get the word out about your products and this is particularly true when you’re in a space like NoSQL where there are lots of competing technologies. Membase wasn’t one of the first NoSQL products in the market, so it’s encouraging that our innovative work and early customer success is being recognized so quickly. We’re very proud that while IDC could have given the award to any of the many NoSQL contenders, they chose to give it to us.
While we are thrilled to be recognized as a company to watch, it is even more gratifying that IDC understands the strategic importance of this new category of databases for enterprise customers and the significant near-term opportunity (tens of millions of dollars) it represents for companies like ours. IDC notes that they are seeing “an ‘intensifying trend’ for application development to move to the Web, creating the need for back-end architectures that demand extreme speed and scale elasticity while maintaining high levels of reliability. I can second that. We’ve seen a marked increase in the interest and uptake of our software – we just hit a run-rate of 30,000 downloads a month, and judging by this heightened demand in the marketplace, customers with interactive web applications are clearly looking for alternatives to complement their relational database solutions. We’re also excited about the range of customer interest. Yes, our customers include many Web 2.0 type companies such as social gaming and ad targeting platforms among others – but many enterprise customers are now recognizing the need for non-relational solutions on the back end. A recent InformationWeek survey indicated that 44% of IT staff in the enterprise had not yet heard of NoSQL databases. But that means that 56% have heard of NoSQL– and in fact, if our interactions with customers is any indication, many of those already have pilots underway. From financial services to retailers to media companies, we’re seeing a growing number of inquiries and engagements in the enterprise and expect those numbers to increase as the value of NoSQL becomes more widely understood among those in mainstream IT. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are involved with web-based application development for an enterprise. What are your plans for exploring this emerging class of data management solutions optimized to support interactive web applications?