MongoDB x Screaming in the Cloud: A Discussion


Held in Las Vegas every winter, AWS re:Invent features booths and exciting new demos from the biggest names in tech; a slate of fun, engaging activities; and inspirational keynotes by thought leaders and pioneers.

Along with being one of today’s top tech expos, re:Invent is also the ideal venue for thinkers to meet and exchange ideas. At this year’s conference, Sahir Azam, Chief Product Officer at MongoDB, sat down with Corey Quinn, Chief Cloud Economist at Duckbill Group (and one of the most interesting men in tech), for a deep, wide-ranging conversation.

Their chat covers everything from the state of databases today to the true definition of a data platform. Read on for some highlights and listen to the episode here.

How is MongoDB adapting to the cloud?

Corey kicks off the talk with a big-picture question: How has MongoDB, a mainstay in the database world, evolved to match the rapidly changing demands of the market? Given the rapid proliferation of databases and related technologies, this question is especially timely.

“What do you do these days?” Corey asks. “What is MongoDB in this ecosystem?”

“Today, MongoDB has become one of the leading cloud database companies in the world,” Sahir replies. “The majority of [our] business comes from our cloud service. That’s our flagship product.”

One database to rule them all?

“[That] leads to the obvious question,” Corey continues. “What’s your take on the whole idea of a different database for every problem/customer/employee/API request?”

“[Many] customers clearly moved to the cloud because they want to be able to move faster, innovate faster, be more competitive,” Sahir replies. Although it’s impossible for a single database vendor to address every customer need, Sahir also mentions that “cobbling together 15 different databases” forces teams to focus on troubleshooting instead of innovation.

Instead, Sahir points out, the ideal database would fit “80% of [an organization’s] use cases, with niche technologies serving as specialized solutions for particular needs.”

What is the nature of MongoDB's relationship with AWS?

“You mentioned that you are a partner with AWS,” Corey asks. “But how do you address the idea of partnering with a company that also heavily advantages its own first-party services?”

Sahir’s reply — that MongoDB has a complex, multifaceted relationship with AWS but not an adversarial one — cites the two companies’ mutual interests and partnerships. “The idea of working with major platform players...being a customer, a partner, and a competitor is something that any organization at our scale and size [has to] navigate,” Sahir explains. “Honestly, there’s a lot more collaboration, both on the engineering side and in the field. We jointly work with customers and get them onto our platform way more often than the world sees.”

And much more...

Corey and Sahir’s discussion also covers how international customers use MongoDB, how potential users and customers perceive MongoDB, and what’s in store for future MongoDB products.