UPDATED 15:36 EDT / FEBRUARY 14 2022


Oracle adds support for the MongoDB API, makes its case for value of the converged database

When a $40 billion database industry giant takes enough interest in a technology to build its own application programming interface for it, that’s an indication the technology has legitimate appeal.

That was the validation NoSQL document database provider MongoDB received in early February when Oracle Corp. announced availability of the Oracle Database API for MongoDB. Enterprises will now be able to leverage the Oracle Autonomous Database without having to rework the MongoDB environment.

“The MongoDB API is now the next step forward to give developers this advanced programming interface that they’ve gotten to love and use,” said Gerald Venzl (pictured), distinguished product manager at Oracle. “It’s a continuation of the converged database story. It’s bringing the many features of single-purpose databases that people like and use together into one technology so everybody can benefit from it.”

Venzl spoke with Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, in a recent exclusive interview. They discussed the latest announcement, use cases for Oracle’s Autonomous Database, merits of both SQL and NoSQL in the enterprise, and future expansion of the converged database.

SQL queries for JSON data

The new API provides Oracle users with the ability to run MongoDB data applications on the Oracle Autonomous JSON database and the company’s Autonomous Database cloud service. The MongoDB API will enable SQL queries for JSON data.

Oracle’s API addition also allows MongoDB applications to connect with an online transaction processing database, or OLTP relational database applications can access MongoDB-based data.

“It’s one database cloud service on Oracle Cloud where it allows you to do anything,” Venzl said. “You can start as a document store if you wish to do so; if you want to write SQL queries on top, you can do so.”

Oracle’s latest move is likely to be greeted positively by a number of developers. MongoDB is ranked as the fifth most popular database platform, regularly listed at the top for NoSQL options.

A key ingredient in Oracle’s announcement is the API’s tie to the cloud-driven Autonomous Database. Developers want automation and in-database access to various enterprise capabilities, such as analytics or machine learning, without having to rework database applications to get them. Oracle’s cloud services framework offers a way to leverage the capabilities provided by a cross-platform, document-oriented database program like MongoDB.

“We firmly believe that Autonomous Database is the next generation of cloud services with all of the self-driving features built in,” Venzl said. “No developer likes to tune the database. With cloud services, the reason why developers choose these is so they don’t have to manage them.”

Rise of NoSQL

It has been well over 40 years since structured query language became the industry standard in the database world, but not everything fits into rows and columns. The subsequent rise of NoSQL, which has flexible schemas for applications with large amounts of data, has helped fuel MongoDB’s growth. The firm added over 2,000 customers during its third quarter alone last year.

Oracle’s view of the SQL versus NoSQL landscape is one in which there is plenty of opportunity for both. Despite the popularity of NoSQL for unstructured data, SQL is not disappearing anytime soon. Even MongoDB has introduced SQL compatibility for its aggregation pipeline, Venzl noted.

“SQL has always been in demand; we don’t think this is ever going away,” Venzl said. “We had the same discussion in the 2000s with XML and databases and the same discussion in the ’90s with object databases. We have just frankly all forgotten about it.”

Oracle is not the first to come out with a MongoDB compatible API. Amazon DocumentDB is a fully managed database service for operating MongoDB workloads. Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB offers a NoSQL database service backed by APIs for MongoDB and Cassandra.

The differentiation from other providers is that Oracle has brought the MongoDB API into its multi-modal, converged framework, according to Venzl. This means that the Oracle Autonomous Database can drive MongoDB apps and data across the enterprise using familiar tools and schemas. XML, graph, spatial and JSON document data can all be managed inside the core Oracle database engine.

“With the others, you don’t get any of the benefits of a converged database,” Venzl said. “If you ever want to do a different data model, run analytics, you still have to use many other services. In Oracle, regardless of what data format you want to store in the database, you can leverage all of the functionality of the database over that data format with no tradeoffs.”

As an example, Venzl cited an unnamed customer, “one of the largest logistics companies on the planet,” which tracked every shipped package in a JSON document. This company wanted to know where it needed to intervene when a shipment got stuck en route, so the firm migrated to Oracle and rewrote applications to accommodate that use case.

That’s apparently one of a number of migration stories that Oracle has experienced as it positions itself as the cloud platform that can support the full enterprise scope. It’s no secret that customers have a lot of data in many different formats, and Oracle is building a big tent to welcome all who seek to get the most out of business-critical information.

“What we see from a majority of our customers is there is no such thing as one data model fits everything,” Venzl said. “All of these models have been built for different purposes. They have all of this data in different data formats. They want to bring it all together, analyze it together, get value out of the data together.”

Here’s the complete video interview, one of many CUBE Conversations from SiliconANGLE and theCUBE:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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