December 2, 2010
In the last two weeks, Riak has been fortunate to sign up some pretty cool clients. Considering we are a young company, that a database is among the stickiest pieces of software and therefore decisions to deploy something new are undertaken with caution, and that we have spent approximately $7,000 on marketing (mostly on sponsorship of a single event), the fact we are getting ten leads a week and converting leads to customers seems pretty amazing.
While this obviously puts the lie to the idea that the market for NoSQL is too early to build a business on, one thing is certain: what people want from NoSQL varies from significantly from client to client.
Some want high availability (especially write-availability) and scalability. Some want distributed analytical capabilities and low latency on queries of big data sets. Some want both. All of the people we are talking to have specific applications in mind and all of them are interested in using NoSQL to do something they really could not do before.
This is the proverbial “greenfield” for NoSQL. Not verticals (and especially not social networking, which is over-represented in examples because two of the great early NoSQL data stores were developed by Facebook and LinkedIn), but pent up demand is where we see growth and opportunity.
Some investors and product types worry this means there is no specific niche NoSQL fills, meaning the market is small and making it hard for small companies to thrive. While I happen to agree with the premise (there is no specific niche), I view that as an indicator of the potentially massive size of the opportunity. We are seeing pent up demand from companies that want to build web applications that are more reliable, scale better, use distributed map/reduce and indexing features, and run in data centers across continents.
No niche there.