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Couchbase database pelted in $25M of filthy Valley lucre

Frothy funding market means VCs chucked money at NoSQL database

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Venture capitalists are so eager to get involved in the burgeoning "NoSQL" database market, that startup Couchbase took a $25m round without needing the money.

"We did not need the money. We had VCs tracking us that very much wanted to invest. The valuations were such that we decided to take on additional money," Couchbase chief Bob Wiederhold told El Reg.

The funding was announced on Wednesday and will see Couchbase use the $25m of filthy valley lucre to fund the creation of sales offices around the world, along with an expansion of its Indian presence to include technical staff and local support.

The splurge comes at a frothy time for the database market, and follows DataStax trousering $45m in July to help it develop Cassandra, MongoDB Inc (formerly known as 10Gen) grabbing $42m for MongoDB in May 2012, and Riak-makers Basho garnering $6m in July 2012.

Here on El Reg's data desk we expect new rounds of funding to come along this year, with one database insider recently telling us "everyone is raising money at the moment".

Couchbase makes Couchbase Server, which is a spin-off of open source project CouchDB. In the recent 2.0 release of the technology, the company made advancements that saw the database gain the ability to store JSOn docs, and replicate data at distance.

"With the 2.0 release we extended that database to be a document database with indexing and querying," Wiederhold said.

The company is one of the four horsemen of the coming Oracle apocalypse, and it, plus DataStax (Cassandra), MongoDB Inc (MongoDB), and Basho (Riak) are developing technologies that aim to take data out of Oracle and into newer systems.

Recent updates to Couchbase Server have put it on a collision course with MongoDB, while DataStax is focusing on Cassandra's CQL query language, and Basho keeps on hardening Riak's data storage properties.

"We compete directly with MongoDB," Wiederhold said, before stressing that he feels it has "a significant leadership from a scalability and performance perspective".

A recent set of benchmarks analyzing NoSQL durability and performance, and failover characteristics, by Thumbtak Technology, found that Couchbase beat MongoDB by a wide margin on measures relating to insert throughput, maximum throughput, and downtime. However, MongoDB copes far better with SSDs than CouchBase, which can have problems dealing with the storage medium.

Couchbase has over 350 customers amounting to around 10,000 paid production nodes, Wiederhold says.

Though uptake of NoSQL systems compared with traditional relational ones has been weak, the (admittedly biased) Wiederhold reckons that real proof will come over the next couple of years as NoSQL shops start to rake in cash. "If NoSQL is as good a solution as we say it is, then the developers are going to be more successful," he says.

"The people that are still on relational technologies are going to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. We're definitely seeing that in many verticals. As a result you're going to see NoSQL playing a bigger and bigger role in the database industry."

Widerhold wouldn't be drawn on whether Couchbase will spin-up a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) version of its product this year, but given the high margins that affords and the recent spate of DBaaS announcements across the industry from companies like GenieDB, we reckon the company will pull one out of the back of the couch(base). ®

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