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Oracle cluster daddy jumps ship to NoSQL upstart MongoDB

30-year SQL veteran says firm is 'revolutionizing' databases

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Roger Bamford, a pioneering database engineer who spent 30 years at SQL stalwart Oracle, has jumped over to the NoSQL side and landed in a new job at MongoDB.

Bamford joins the seven-year-old startup with the title of distinguished engineer and will be part of the senior engineering team that develops the MongoDB database.

"There is a brand new generation of databases being built and deployed to address today's data challenges," Bamford said in a canned quote. "I've witnessed the explosive adoption of MongoDB over the past few years and I'm excited to be part of the team that is revolutionizing how organizations build, manage and run applications."

Whether Bamford will have a particular area of focus in his new role is not clear, but he is perhaps best known as the "founding father" of Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), the high-availability option for the Oracle RDMS that has become a key component of the company's private cloud architecture.

More recently, he led the database giant's advanced R&D team for distributed and parallel computing, in addition to providing overall architectural leadership for the Oracle Database.

Before Oracle, Bamford worked at IBM Research, having completed a baccalaureate degree in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He personally holds more than 40 patents on database technologies.

His defection could be a major coup for MongoDB, which has been gaining significant traction as developers look to alternatives to traditional SQL databases for their Big Data projects. According to DB-Engines analytics database, MongoDB is the most popular non-relational data store, based on web buzz.

Major tech firms have taken notice of the firm, too. In MongoDB's most recent $150m funding round, it picked up Intel Capital, Red Hat, and Salesforce.com as new investors. IBM also offers direct support for MongoDB's custom query language on its DB2 database.

Oracle, meanwhile, has shown little love for MongoDB so far. Instead, it has been bolting NoSQL-like query capabilities onto MySQL while also offering products that allow developers to query NoSQL databases using Oracle's PL/SQL dialect – a hybrid strategy that it has termed "Not Only SQL."

"People are going to want to have both," Oracle VP of MySQL engineering Thomas Ulin told The Reg at last year's Oracle OpenWorld conference.

Having gained Bamford's massive database engineering experience, however, MongoDB may soon be in a position to offer customers just that. ®

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