The Troposphere

Feb 27 2013   7:39PM GMT

Rackspace puts Object Rocket in its pocket

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Rackspace is jockeying for position aboard the advanced infrastructure services bandwagon with its acquisition today of Object Rocket, a MongoDB Database as a Service provider.

Rackspace is hardly the first to offer a Database as a Service (DBaaS) or even MongoDB as a service — other vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SoftLayer have beaten them to the punch. But, the newly merging companies claim, the Object Rocket service is faster and offers more predictable performance than competitors.

This notion is further detailed in a blog post by Rackspace’s DevOps team that features performance benchmarks; the post claims that Object Rocket’s service showed more consistent throughput and consistently low latency compared with two other MongoDB services running on — you guessed it — Amazon.

“It’s basically become a standard see-saw,” is how Carl Brooks, an analyst at 451 Group, summed things up today. “AWS launches a crazy, interesting new service, customers try it out, find the performance is non-deterministic, another provider says, ‘Hey, I can do that a jillion times better on my iron!’ and the world continues to revolve.”

For those not in the know, MongoDB is among the most rapidly growing NoSQL databases, which are mainly used in large Web applications that require rapid access to objects or documents that are delivered whole, rather than assembled out of pieces located in the rows and columns of a traditional relational database. It’s used by eBay, Disney, FourSquare and other household names, though none of those blue chips are Object Rocket customers, specifically.

It’s unclear so far how Rackspace’s customer base will respond. A few calls I put in today to IT pros who run on Rackspace produced long pauses and a disinclination to comment on the new offering until more is known about it.

Could this acquisition be filling in a corner case, rather than appealing to the meat-and-potatoes enterprises among Rackspace’s customers? Time, of course, will tell…

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