“For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by databases.”
Database upstart MongoDB has appointed AWS veteran Mark Porter as its new CTO, three months after co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz announced that he would be standing down from the hands-on role — briefly sending the company’s share price tumbling 9%. Porter starts July 20.
(Horowitz wrote the core code base for MongoDB, a non-relational DB platform provider. He’s stayed on as a technical advisor. Porter also joined MongoDB’s board in February this year. The company’s share price, meanwhile has soared from $134 at the start of this calendar year to $217).
Porter, who spent 2013 to 2018 at AWS in a range of roles, including as General Manager for Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora, joins the New York-based company from Singapore’s ride hailing, food delivery and digital payments firm Grab, where he served as CTO. He also spent 11 years with Oracle, heading up a server development team, among other positions.
In a blog post today announcing the new job, he said, tongue perhaps only partly in cheek: “I was searching for closure (and maybe redemption) for the deep personal guilt I have because I’ve put so much of my career energy into building data engines that don’t make people’s lives as easy as they could.
He added, more seriously: “If you don’t know the guilt I’m talking about, look at the SQL generated by any of the popular ORMs [Object-Relational-Mapper] out there – it’s clear that there is a disconnect between what developers are trying to accomplish and what their datastores allow them to do.”
MongoDB touts a significantly more flexible data model than that provided by SQL, allowing developers to iterate on applications much faster.
As Porter notes: “Just ask any CIO how often they ‘roll new schema’ to their application fleet, and they typically put their head in their hands and mumble ‘Once a quarter..if we’re lucky.’ The speed of your schema changes is directly related to how fast your teams innovate and thus to the innovation speed of your business. Once a quarter isn’t fast enough anymore, if it ever was.”
MongoDB reported total revenues of $421.7 million for fiscal year 2020 in earnings filed in late May. It made a net loss of $175 million and grew its customer base to 17,000, from 13,400 customers in 2019.