In a move that will surely upset the open-source community, AWS has launched a new database offering compatible with the MongoDB API called DocumentDB.
The cloud giant describes its new product as a “fast, scalable, and highly available document database that is designed to be compatible with your existing MongoDB applications and tools.” However, it is essentially a replacement for MongoDB that uses its API but none of its code.
According to AWS, its customers have found it difficult to build fast and highly available applications that are able to scale to multiple terabytes with hundreds of thousands of reads and writes per second. So instead, the company built its own document database that is compatible with Apace 2.0 open source MongoDB 3.6 API.
This has led to further accusations that AWS is taking the best open-source projects and re-branding them without giving back to the communities responsible for their creation.
Sincerest form of flattery
MongoDB took efforts to stop AWS and others from copying its product by re-licensing its open-source tools under a new license that clearly states that companies trying to use its code to create similar products have to buy a commercial license.
MongoDB’s CEO and President Dev Ittycheria responded to the news in a statement to TechCrunch, saying:
“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’s document model. However, developers are technically savvy enough to distinguish between the real thing and a poor imitation. MongoDB will continue to outperform any impersonations in the market.”
The company’s Co-Founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz also weighed in on the matter, saying:
“In order to give developers what they want, AWS has been pushed to offer an imitation MongoDB service that is based on the MongoDB code from two years ago. Our entire company is focused on one thing — giving developers the best way to work with data with the freedom to run anywhere. Our commitment to that single mission will continue to differentiate the real MongoDB from any imitation products that come along.”
Time will tell if developers embrace AWS’ DocumentDB but the damage to the open-source community has already been done.