MongoLab, a cloud-based database provider created by San Francisco-based ObjectLabs, announced today that it has closed a $3 million series A funding round led by Foundry Group, Baseline Ventures, GRP Partners, Freestyle Capital, David Cohen, and more. The list of investors is notable, considering that it includes several names involved in the backing of other well-known cloud infrastructure players, like Heroku, SendGrid, Urban Airship, SimpleGeo, and Twilio, to name a few.
So, what is MongoLab? For those not familiar, MongoLab is a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider for MongoDB, 10gen’s scalable, open-source, document-oriented database currently being used by companies like Foursquare, bit.ly, and Etsy. MongoLab enables cloud-based hosting for MongoDB users on Amazon’s EC2 and Rackspace, and manages replication, backups, monitoring and uptime — the tedious stuff — so that your team doesn’t have to.
The cloud service also offers web-management tools that are optimized for those who are new to the technology. It provides an admin UI, for example, that allows users to create and remove databases, to search for and edit data, providing you with the supplemental tools you’d need if you, say, installed the database yourself.
For app developers looking to take advantage of cloud-based data storage, MongoLab allows clients to connect directly to the database via its JSON REST API. This is huge for mobile and AJAX applications, because the traditional way of writing the backends of mobile apps is to create a REST API intermediary between the device and the database storing the app’s data, but MongoLab allows developers to skip writing a custom server app, cutting out the middle man.
There are a bunch of scalable NoSQL technologies out there, but MongoLab is, as you can guess from its name, all about MongoDB. The reason the team chose the new technology, says MongoLab CEO Will Shulman, is because of its scalability and usability as a general-purpose database. It works with both large and small sets of data.
“Developers have spent the better part of their careers writing code to change the shape of their data between object form and relational form. I recently heard one VP of Engineering refer to it as ‘our Vietnam’”, Shulman said. “Since JSON is an object format, MongoDB makes a lot of these problems disappear. Developers have been waiting years for something like this”.
The team is obviously very excited about the new technology behind MongoDB and hopes that, through it’s cloud-based data storage and management solution, the two can provide a knock-out solution for cloud scaling and hosting.
“The folks at 10gen, the makers of MongoDB, made all the right trade-offs: a general-purpose query language, a generic way of indexing, and very configurable consistency semantics. And it scales. For these reasons we see MongoDB as a general-purpose DB that’s highly scalable, rather than a very specialized data store”, Shulman concluded.
MongoLab is currently in beta both for its multi-tenant database plans and as a Heroku add-on and is in alpha with a dedicated server offering. Developers can begin test driving MongoLab now using its free plan, and get started in minutes.