Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Thirty years on, 10gen emulates Oracle

It's now more than thirty years since I first came across the Oracle database. At that time, Oracle had only just got a distributor in the UK (a small part of CACI, with just three staff: Geoff Squire, Mike Evans and Chris Ellis - soon to be joined by Ian Thacker). We selected Oracle for an MOD project and the rest is history.

SQL and relational database were a completely new thing then (actually, any databases were a pretty new thing - I'd got through an entire Computer Science degree without ever coming across even a sniff of a database). During the mid '80s, Oracle UK did a fantastic job of proselytising relational as a concept, and SQL as the database lingua franca. They ran regular "no obligation" seminars that were accessible to both techies and their managers; these were held frequently in London, and from time to time around the rest of the UK (and through Europe as things took off). I don't know whether the same was true in the USA, but I expect it was. The seminars generated a lot of interest, and I'm sure the campaign is one of the principal reasons Oracle was able to steal the top dog position it has held ever since in the RDBMS world.

Well, here we are and 10gen (G+: +MongoDB, - developers of MongoDB - seem to have learned the lesson. They are doing a heck of a lot to spread the word, including (since last October) running free introductory online courses. I've just completed the sixth and last full week of M101J - MongoDB for Java Developers (week 7 is the final exam). More on the detail in another post - but the main point is that this relatively small amount of investment in education should generate a lot of demand (not to mention good feeling). If you're interested, the courses are being run on a cycle - next one to start is M102 - MongoDB for DBAs, on April 29 - see for more details.

Even if you don't want to be drinking the Kool-Aid, working through the course is a great way of beginning to understand the strengths and weaknesses of MongoDB in particular, or NoSQL / document oriented databases in general.

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