In the News

At MetLife, Technology is the Best Policy

Earlier this year, MetLife rolled out The Wall, a Facebook-like application that provides service and sales reps in call centers with an overview of customers. No longer are policyholders viewed as ID numbers scattered among different annuity and insurance products, says Gary Hoberman, one of MetLife's three CIOs and a senior vice president. The Wall pulls together dozens of streams of customer data to let reps see customers' history, their conversations with the company, any claims filed and paid, and their various policies -- all on a simple timeline. Reps can get to it with one click instead of 40 clicks, and they can settle issues faster and assess how a customer feels about the company. "It could have a huge impact on customer satisfaction," Hoberman says.

It took 90 days to build the app, a feat that even a couple of years ago might have taken a year or more. "It's definitely impressive," says Dwight Merriman, co-founder of MongoDB, the open-source database that MetLife used for the project. Only in the past few years has new database technology allowed big companies to cull huge amounts of digital information for real-time decision-making.

MongoDB Offers Certifications for Developers and DBAs

MongoDB announced a new certification program for developers and database administrators (DBAs).

MongoDB will certify the knowledge of concepts and mechanics, including practical skills required to build applications backed by the NoSQLdatabase. MongoDB certification offers DBAs and developers a new means to prove expertise on MongoDB and helps organizations hire and develop qualified professionals.

Behind the Funding: MongoDB Founder Dwight Merriman Reveals the Secrets to Startup Success

Dwight Merriman knows a thing or two about tech startups. A leading figure in New York City's Silicon Alley scene, Merriman is perhaps best known for co-founding DoubleClick, which sold to Hellman and Friedman for $1.1 billion (£685m) in 2005 before being acquired by Google three years later to the cool tune of $3.1 billion (£1.9bn).

More recently, Merriman co-founded MongoDB, a New York startup that is fast cementing itself as the leading NoSQL database following an unprecedented $150 million (£93m) Series F funding round. Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to catch up with Dwight at Web Summit 2013. Given his stellar record with startups, we were particularly keen to hear his thoughts on entrepreneurship, as well as probing his considerable knowledge of the data industry.

A Collection of the Day’s Big Data News, featuring HP, Splunk and MongoDB

We’ve already covered a lot of Hadoop and general data-industry news already over the past few days, but as is often the case during trade shows like Strata and Hadoop World, when it rains it pours. Here are a handful of other notable news items that crossed the wires in the last day.

Pay $150, take an online course, get certified in MongoDB: MongoDB has actually been doing these MOOC-like courses for a while, but this is the first time there’s a charge and an official certification involved. I’m guessing most startups won’t really care about this, but it could become a good revenue source as more large companies start building real web and mobile apps.

MongoDB Introduces New Certification Program to help Prospective Employers Separate Coders from the Dabblers

College isn’t the only place where people can learn. A growing number of services are offering a decent education without charging indecent prices for their services, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to observe lectures, read textbooks, and participate in hands-on projects. The only problem is that these alternative learning tools don’t offer degrees or other certificates to show that people have completed their classes.

That’s why MongoDB is today announcing its certificate program, which allows people to prove that they know how to work with its platform and the NoSQL database technology. Andrew Erlichson, the company’s Vice President of Education and Cloud Services, says that the certification program is the logical continuation of MongoDB’s education efforts.

DreamFactory Dials up MongoDB for Mobile

DreamFactory has this week announced that the MongoDB open source NoSQL document database can be accessed from its open-source DreamFactory Services Platform (DSP) via a REST API. This move is intended to make it easier for developers to bring big data functionality to mobile users.

The company describes itself as a developer and publisher of rich applications for next-generation web service platforms. Its DSP REST technology takes care of all the server-side work and builds an SDK so developers can start to hook up an app to the MongoDB database.

Why MongoDB is Worth $1.2 Billion

While you were sleeping, 10gen -- the company behind the MongoDB document database -- changed its name to MongoDB, Inc., raised $231 million, and became the first billion-dollar open source startup. That's right, an open source NoSQL database startup has a $1.2 billion valuation.

Founded in 2007, MongoDB got to this point in only six years, a feat that took Red Hat (founded 1993) nearly two decades. By contrast, the last open source startup I was involved in raised less than $20 million and sold for less than $400 million. At the time, this was considered pretty good.

To what does MongoDB owe its success? Oracle! That's right, Oracle is the best thing that ever happened to MongoDB. Oracle has the lion's share of the $30 billion database market. In 2011, the last year for which I can find database revenue numbers, RDBMS licensing revenue hit $16.75 billion. According to the analyst firm Gartner, Oracle owns 48.3 percent of the RDBMS market. It's the biggest, fattest gorilla imaginable.

Fidelity, T. Rowe Price In $150 Million Bet That MongoDB Will Beat Oracle, IBM

It’s rare that big investment houses place bets on start-ups. And when they do, it’s a strong signal that those investment houses believe the start-up will earn them big returns with low risk.

This comes to mind in reviewing the list of investors – including Fidelity Investments, Flybridge Capital Partners, In-Q-Tel, Intel Capital, Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures and T. Rowe Price — who on October 4 forked over $150 million for a stake in MongoDB, a Palo Alto and Manhattan-based database software provider that is winning customers from the leaders in the $30 billion relational database market long-dominated by the likes of Oracle and IBM.