Discussion of Couchbase (the company formed from the merger of Membase and CouchOne) and its products, most of which will also be branded as Couchbase.
I checked in with James Phillips for a Couchbase update, and I understand better what’s going on. In particular:
- Give or take minor tweaks, what I wrote in my August, 2010 Couchbase updates still applies.
- Couchbase now and for the foreseeable future has one product line, called Couchbase.
- Couchbase 2.0, the first version of Couchbase (the product) to use CouchDB for persistence, has slipped …
- … because more parts of CouchDB had to be rewritten for performance than Couchbase (the company) had hoped.
- Think mid-year or so for the release of Couchbase 2.0, hopefully sooner.
- In connection with the need to rewrite parts of CouchDB, Couchbase has:
- Gotten out of the single-server CouchDB business.
- Donated its proprietary single-sever CouchDB intellectual property to the Apache Foundation.
- The 150ish new customers in 2011 Couchbase brags about are real, subscription customers.
- Couchbase has 60ish people, headed to >100 over the next few months.
|Categories: Basho and Riak, Cassandra, Couchbase, CouchDB, DataStax, Market share and customer counts, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Open source, Parallelization, Web analytics, Zynga||6 Comments|
Couchbase in general, and CouchDB project founder Damien Katz in particular, are to some extent walking away from CouchDB. That is:
- The Couchbase product will not be upward compatible with CouchDB.
- Couchbase will no longer offer a CouchDB distribution, and is doing the natural and responsible thing, namely …
- … donating to the Apache Foundation the previously proprietary aspects of that distribution.
- All — or at least “all” — the code Couchbase offers will, at least for now, be open source.
The story unfolded in a bombshell post by Damien, and clarification follow-ups by Damien and by Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold. The meatiest of the three was probably Damien’s follow-up, in which he said, among other things:
Last week I visited with James Phillips of Couchbase, Max Schireson and Eliot Horowitz of 10gen, and Todd Lipcon, Eric Sammer, and Omer Trajman of Cloudera. I guess it’s time for a round-up NoSQL post.
Views of the NoSQL market horse race are reasonably consistent, with perhaps some elements of “Where you stand depends upon where you sit.”
- As James tells it, NoSQL is simply a three-horse race between Couchbase, MongoDB, and Cassandra.
- Max would include HBase on the list.
- Further, Max pointed out that metrics such as job listings suggest MongoDB has the most development activity, and Couchbase/Membase/CouchDB perhaps have less.
- The Cloudera guys remarked on some serious HBase adopters.*
- Everybody I spoke with agreed that Riak had little current market presence, although some Basho guys could surely be found who’d disagree.
|Categories: Basho and Riak, Cassandra, Cloudera, Clustering, Couchbase, HBase, Market share and customer counts, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Open source, Oracle, Parallelization||12 Comments|
Mike Driscoll and his Metamarkets colleagues organized a bit of a bash Thursday night. Among the many folks I chatted with were Ken Rudin of Zynga, Sam Shah of LinkedIn, and D. J. Patil, late of LinkedIn. I now know more about analytic data management at Zynga and LinkedIn, plus some bonus stuff on LinkedIn’s People You May Know application.
It’s blindingly obvious that Zynga is one of Vertica’s petabyte-scale customers, given that Zynga sends 5 TB/day of data into Vertica, and keeps that data for about a year. (Zynga may retain even more data going forward; in particular, Zynga regrets ever having thrown out the first month of data for any game it’s tried to launch.) This is game actions, for the most part, rather than log files; true logs generally go into Splunk.
I don’t know whether the missing data is completely thrown away, or just stashed on inaccessible tapes somewhere.
I found two aspects of the Zynga story particularly interesting. First, those 5 TB/day are going straight into Vertica (from, I presume, memcached/Membase/Couchbase), as Zynga decided that sending the data to some kind of log first was more trouble than it’s worth. Second, there’s Zynga’s approach to analytic database design. Highlights of that include: Read more
|Categories: Aster Data, Couchbase, Data models and architecture, Games and virtual worlds, Greenplum, Hadoop, Petabyte-scale data management, Specific users, Vertica Systems, Zynga||27 Comments|
My Couchbase business update with Bob Wiederhold was very interesting, but it didn’t answer much about the actual Couchbase product. For that, I talked with Dustin Sallings. We jumped around a lot, and some important parts of the Couchbase product haven’t had their designs locked down yet anyway. But here’s at least a partial explanation of what’s up.
memcached is a way to cache data in RAM across a cluster of servers and have it all look logically like a single memory pool, extremely popular among large internet companies. The Membase product — which is what Couchbase has been selling this year — adds persistence to memcached, an obvious improvement on requiring application developers to write both to memcached and to non-transparently-sharded MySQL. The main technical points in adding persistence seem to have been:
- A persistent backing store (duh), namely SQLite.
- A change to the hashing algorithm, to avoid losing data when the cluster configuration is changed.
Couchbase is essentially Membase improved by integrating CouchDB into it, with the main changes being:
- Changing the backing store to CouchDB (duh). This will be in the first Couchbase release.
- Adding cross data center replication on CouchDB’s consistency model. This will not, I believe, be in the first Couchbase release.
- Offering CouchDB’s programming and query interfaces as an option. So far as I can tell, this will be implemented straightforwardly in the first Couchbase release, with elegance planned for later down the road.
Let’s drill down a bit into Membase/Couchbase clustering and consistency. Read more
|Categories: Cache, Clustering, Couchbase, memcached, Memory-centric data management, MySQL, Parallelization, Solid-state memory||6 Comments|
I decided I needed some Couchbase drilldown, on business and technology alike, so I had solid chats with both CEO Bob Wiederhold and Chief Architect Dustin Sallings. Pretty much everything I wrote at the time Membase and CouchOne merged to form Couchbase (the company) still holds up. But I have more detail now.
Context for any comments on customer traction includes:
- Membase went into limited production release in October, and full release in January. Similar things are true of CouchDB.
- Hence, most sales of Couchbase’s products have been made over the past 6 months.
- Couchbase (the merged product) is at this point only in a pre-production developer’s release.
- Couchbase has both a direct sales force and a classic open-source “funnel”-based online selling model. Naturally, Couchbase’s understanding of what its customers are doing is more solid with respect to the direct sales base.
- Most of Couchbase’s revenue to date seems to have come from a limited number of big-ticket “lighthouse” accounts (as opposed to, say, the larger number of smaller deals that come in through the online funnel).
- Most Membase purchases are for new applications, as opposed to memcached migrations. However, customers are the kinds of companies that probably also are using memcached elsewhere.
- Most other Membase purchases are replacements for the Membase/MySQL combination. Bob says those are easy sales with short sales cycles.
- Pure memcached support is a small but non-zero business for Couchbase, and a fine source of upsell opportunities.
- In the pipeline but not so much yet in the customer base are SaaS vendors and the like who use and may want to replace traditional DBMS such as Oracle. Other than among those, Couchbase doesn’t compete much yet with Oracle et al.
- Pure CouchDB isn’t all that much of a business, at least relative to community size, as CouchDB is a single-server product commonly used by people who are content not to pay for support.
Membase sales are concentrated in five kinds of internet-centric companies, which in declining order are: Read more
As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:
- Facebook et al. are in effect Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors, not enterprise technology users. In particular:
- They have the technical chops to rewrite their code as needed.
- Unlike packaged software vendors, they’re not answerable to anybody for keeping legacy code alive after a rewrite. That makes migration a lot easier.
- If they want to write different parts of their system on different technical underpinnings, nobody can stop them. For example …
- … Facebook innovated Cassandra, and is now heavily committed to HBase.
- It makes little sense to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL.” Better to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding.” That said:
- It’s hard to see why somebody today would use MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for a new project. At least one of Couchbase or transparently-sharded MySQL is very likely a superior alternative. Other alternatives might be better yet.
- As noted above in the example of Facebook, the many major web businesses that are using MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for existing projects can be presumed able to migrate away from that stack as the need arises.
Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:
- If you just want to write to the memcached API anyway, why not go with Couchbase?
- If you want to go relational, why not go with MySQL? There are many alternatives for scaling or accelerating MySQL — dbShards, Schooner, Akiban, Tokutek, ScaleBase, ScaleDB, Clustrix, and Xeround come to mind quickly, so there’s a great chance that one or more will fit your use case. (And if you don’t get the choice of MySQL flavor right the first time, porting to another one shouldn’t be all THAT awful.)
- If you really, really want to go in-memory, and don’t mind writing Java stored procedures, and don’t need to do the kinds of joins it isn’t good at, but do need to do the kinds of joins it is, VoltDB could indeed be a good alternative.
And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.
This post has a sequel.
Last week, Mike Stonebraker insulted MySQL and Facebook’s use of it, by implication advocating VoltDB instead. Kerfuffle ensued. To the extent Mike was saying that non-transparently sharded MySQL isn’t an ideal way to do things, he’s surely right. That still leaves a lot of options for massive short-request databases, however, including transparently sharded RDBMS, scale-out in-memory DBMS (whether or not VoltDB*), and various NoSQL options. If nothing else, Couchbase would seem superior to memcached/non-transparent MySQL if you were starting a project today.
*The big problem with VoltDB, last I checked, was its reliance on Java stored procedures to get work done.
Pleasantries continued in The Register, which got an amazing-sounding quote from Mike. If The Reg is to be believed — something I wouldn’t necessarily take for granted — Mike claimed that he (i.e. VoltDB) knows how to solve the distributed join performance problem. Read more
|Categories: Cache, Clustering, Couchbase, Games and virtual worlds, In-memory DBMS, memcached, Michael Stonebraker, MySQL, Parallelization, Theory and architecture, VoltDB and H-Store||20 Comments|
We hear much these days about unstructured or semi-structured (as opposed to) structured data. Those are misnomers, however, for at least two reasons. First, it’s not really the data that people think is un-, semi-, or fully structured; it’s databases.* Relational databases are highly structured, but the data within them is unstructured — just lists of numbers or character strings, whose only significance derives from the structure that the database imposes.
*Here I’m using the term “database” literally, rather than as a concise synonym for “database management system”. But see below.
Second, a more accurate distinction is not whether a database has one structure or none – it’s whether a database has one structure or many. The easiest way to see this is for databases that have clearly-defined schemas. A relational database has one schema (even if it is just the union of various unrelated sub-schemas); an XML database, however, can have as many schemas as it contains documents.
One small terminological problem is easily handled, namely that people don’t talk about true databases very often, at least when they’re discussing generalities; rather, they talk about data and DBMS.* So let’s talk of DBMS being “structured” singly or multiply or whatever, just as the databases they’re designed to manage are.
*And they refer to the DBMS as “databases,” because they don’t have much other use for the word.
All that said — I think that single vs. multiple database structures isn’t a bright-line binary distinction; rather, it’s a spectrum. For example: Read more
|Categories: Cassandra, Couchbase, Data models and architecture, HBase, IBM and DB2, MarkLogic, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Splunk, Theory and architecture||18 Comments|
Edit: This disclosure has been superseded by a March, 2012 version.
From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below. To be clear:
- This is a list of Monash Advantage members.
- All our vendor clients are Monash Advantage members, unless …
- … we work with them primarily in their capacity as technology users. (A large fraction of our user clients happen to be SaaS vendors.)
- We do not usually disclose our user clients.
- We do not usually disclose our venture capital clients, nor those who invest in publicly-traded securities.
- Included in the list below are two expired Monash Advantage members who haven’t said they will renew, as mentioned in my recent post on analyst bias. (You can probably imagine a couple of reasons for that obfuscation.)
With that said, our vendor client disclosures at this time are:
- Aster Data
- SAND Technology
- Schooner Information Technology