My clients at MarkLogic have a new CEO, Ken Bado, even though former CEO Dave Kellogg was quite successful. If you cut through all the happy talk and side issues, the reason for the change is surely that the board wants to see MarkLogic grow faster, and specifically to move beyond its traditional niches of publishing (especially technical publishing) and national intelligence.
So what other markets could MarkLogic pursue? Before Ken even started work, I sent over some thoughts. They included (but were not limited to):
- Everybody now knows that not all problems require a relational DBMS. The NoSQL movement has seen to that.
- Not everybody agrees that “heavyweight” enterprise DBMS are needed for everything. The NoSQL movement has seen to that too.
- The “document”/”object” DBMS distinction has long been blurry. XML is full of documents, but they’re really objects. The same goes for the JSON/quasi-JSON objects of CouchDB/Couchbase and MongoDB. Object-oriented DBMS vendors have dabbled in XML on and off over the years because of technical similarity. Etc.
- MarkLogic has always focused on markets where the database truly was about documents in the conventional sense — especially long text documents — aka “content”. I always thought that focus was over-narrow.
- There are various cases where law, regulation, compliance etc. mandate the production of long text documents. I’m not sure MarkLogic has penetrated those as well as it could have.
- Graph DBMS technology is going nowhere fast, largely because nobody has solved the data distribution problem in cases big enough to need scale-out, and the technology isn’t obviously needed in single-server cases. (But see my post on Objectivity’s Infinite Graph.) Even so, graph-oriented apps are exploding, and MarkLogic should think about playing in the graph area, even if by acquisition.
- I think what I described in http://www.dbms2.com/2010/06/08/profile-of-revealed-preferences/ is non-relational and a very big market. Playing there with a “heavyweight” DBMS is of course a challenge.
- Coming over from Autodesk, Ken Bado hopefully knows more about the product data management business than I do.
It will be interesting to see what MarkLogic actually does.