Five NoSQL Predictions for 2015

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Jon_BakkeIn this special guest feature, Jon Bakke of MarkLogic lists his top 5 predictions for NoSQL in 2015. Jon Bakke is Executive Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations for MarkLogic, a provider of schema-agnostic enterprise NoSQL database technology, coupled with powerful search & flexible application services. Jon has 20 years in enterprise database delivery and management, with an exceptional track record in innovation, solution development, and team leadership.

2014 has been another interesting year in Big Data with long-awaited IPOs, massive fund-raising and increased awareness around the data management market. So, what does this mean for the future of Enterprise NoSQL and the impact on enterprises across industries and around the globe in 2015?

1 – The Enterprise Gap will drive industry consolidation. 2015 will begin to see an expansion of the “Enterprise Gap” in NoSQL. Many of the NoSQL players are fairly new to the market, and only a small number have built up a broad portfolio of customers putting those products into production settings at-scale. Databases need production time to be battle-tested which makes penetrating the market difficult in the first place. How do you get time in production when you’ve only sold to a small number of licenses to a few SMB customers? You don’t.

Adoption is certainly key for success, but even more important is that the adoption is connected to solving critical business problems for each of those marquis customers. Systems that solve key problems run 24 x 7 in datacenters and have thousands of users, difficult security requirements and receive mission critical attention at the customers’ senior levels.

In 2015, the NoSQL companies that dive in deep to drive positive customer experiences will widen their lead over those who passively approach the market with a baseline but no plausible way to drive the end-user experience in any effective way. It’s going to be enterprise-class implementations that determine success.

2 – NoSQL to eclipse Hadoop. Enterprise NoSQL already occupies the leader’s position in terms of revenue when compared to Hadoop. Hadoop hysteria has gradually yet firmly eased into an overall skepticism. Don’t get me wrong, lots of companies use Hadoop but if they want to use it as more than a file system in order to conduct operational work, it takes expensive and time-intensive acts of heroism by experts in the field. The best evidence came when Hortonworks filed for its public offering in late 2014. Behind the headlines of the company’s noteworthy billion-dollar valuation were the dismal financial numbers leading into the IPO.

NoSQL has a more tangible and distinct value proposition. Additionally, NoSQL leaders have the distinct advantage of advancing their unshared code baselines, which accelerates the rate at which features and fixes can be included and shipped. Hadoop customers and prospects are increasingly confused with the immature, multi-component, ever-changing baseline that comprises the solution.

Conversely, NoSQL is an evolving database server. Its parts are generally pre-integrated for easier deployment, faster development and cheaper operational use cases.

3 – Relational Incumbents will adopt NoSQL messaging but Enterprise NoSQL leaders will encroach RDBMS territory faster. A small group of Enterprise NoSQL databases began to gain on the relational database market in 2014. For the first time, a NoSQL database even found its way into the Gartner Leader’s Quadrant for Database providers.

With competition creeping up on them, all the incumbent database players are starting to adopt support for some new data types. But after three decades of relational database dominance, the previously functional paradigm of rows and columns is preventing these businesses from moving quickly through software development lifecycles, which in turn costs them time, money, and missed customer opportunities.

4 – Open source funding will decline. Silicon Valley continues to attract rookie investors who find start ups who will take their money for a share of the company’s value. And while the open source play still has a few hangers-on, a pure play in this model hasn’t really turned out any significant success since the IPO of Red Hat 16 years ago.

The problem with the model? The more pure the play, the lower the perceived price point for the base product. The product finds adoption quickly and costly engineers get to work supporting an under-monetized installed-base – and thus begins the downward spiral of cost vs. revenue. This is then exacerbated by an inflated marketing spend which further depletes the start up’s cash long-before it can find a plausible trajectory toward profitability.

Another problem with open source is deployment. Many companies learn upon deployment that their cool, open source platforms are missing key enterprise features like government-grade security, disaster recovery and high availability.

This is unsustainable to the point where some of the early open source NoSQL companies are going back to the investment well for down-round funding just to keep their dreams alive.

5 – The beginning of Enterprise NoSQL mass adoption. 2015 will see the broader adoption of Enterprise NoSQL products for broader SaaS implementations, the early fabric of the Internet of Things (IOT) and certainly the next generation of business software that can be characterized as rational ERP (which means cheaper, more flexible and one-tenth the cost of that suite you implemented in 2003).

The flexible nature of Enterprise NoSQL makes this faster to implement because it sheds the requirement for strict OLTP schema to build business applications without losing the ability to run OLAP workloads at the same time and with the same data. The short list of Enterprise players in this space will emerge in 2015 along with one or two Hadoop vendors to own the Big Data market – which is simply the Database Market of the Future.

History is on the side of these predictions. In the 80s, Oracle was a $100M company attempting to crush the mainframe and hierarchical database industries—and we know how that ended. Enterprise NoSQL is in the same position today: It is the first significant encroachment on that industry and certainly solutions, OEMs, SaaS providers and applications will be next to adopt a faster more nimble data management system.


2015 will be a big year for Enterprise NoSQL – and I think the market is in a position to accelerate the adoption of new database technology that can be easily leveraged for flexible application development and deployed in enterprise data centers. The incumbents are vulnerable as their technologies simply can’t keep pace with today’s data volume and types. Alternatively, the energy from vibrant Enterprise NoSQL companies will swoop into Fortune 500 accounts with a new, better way of managing data.


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