"There are two things that are driving demand. Enterprises are looking for databases that are well suited to scale out on commodity hardware, so scalability is one big factor," Schierson said. The second factor is MongoDB's programming interface that makes it easier for developers to work with the technology compared to traditional relational database management systems, he said.
Other vendors of NoSQL technologies include Couchbase and DataStax, a company that sells and supports a commercial version of Apache Cassandra database. Like, 10Gen, both these companies have attracted a fair amount of investor interest as well. DataStax for instance has so far received about $11 million from investors while Couchbase has secured about $24 million in investor funds.
"The 'big data' space is hot because the world is generating more data than ever before," said Luis Robles, a venture capitalist at Sequoia. "Industry analyst estimates vary, but many predict 40x growth in the amount of data being stored in the world by 2020," Robles said by email. "[Eighty percent] of that data is unstructured or semi-structured: completely overflowing out of traditional databases, creating opportunities for new platforms."
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about databases in Computerworld's Databases Topic Center.