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AWS launches MongoDB competitor amid criticism over Amazon’s in-house products

AWS launches MongoDB competitor amid criticism over Amazon’s in-house products
[Photo: Flickr user Thomas Cloer]

On Wednesday, Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a new database tool called DocumentDB, which it emphasized is compatible with some versions of a popular database tool called MongoDB.

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“Internally, Amazon DocumentDB implements the MongoDB 3.6 API by emulating the responses that a MongoDB client expects from a MongoDB server,” wrote AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post.

MongoDB is a so-called NoSQL database product, meaning that it gives developers more flexibility in how they organize data than traditional databases programmed with the SQL programming language. The data records stored by the database are called documents. It’s developed by a company also called MongoDB, which quickly critiqued the Amazon launch.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so it’s not surprising that Amazon would try to capitalize on the popularity and momentum of MongoDB,” said MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria in a statement reported by CNBC. “However, developers are savvy enough to distinguish between the real thing and a poor imitation.”

MongoDB users can already use a cloud-based database from MongoDB called MongoDB Atlas that can run on AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure, says Sahir Azam, SVP of cloud products at MongoDB.

“The reality is, two and a half years ago we launched the real MongoDB as a service on AWS with far greater capabilities than DocumentDB, and that’s our MongoDB Atlas offering,” Azam tells Fast Company.

Version 3.6 of MongoDB was first released in November 2017. A newer version, MongoDB 4.0, first debuted in June, adding new features to the database product. Amazon is likely betting that customers will prefer to deploy, control, and pay for the database service alongside other AWS services.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company.

The company, which is the industry leader in cloud computing, has also faced criticism for effectively cloning other companies’ products in the physical world. Some competitors and regulators have questioned whether its sprawling set of store brands has an unfair advantage against third-party sellers on its retail site, particularly given the amount of data Amazon can access about consumer searches and purchases, Axios reports.

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