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AWS-MongoDB Deal Favors Collaboration Over Competition

Under a new strategic alliance AWS, despite marketing its own competing database product, is embracing the MongoDB Atlas cloud database through a range of joint go-to-market, customer support, development and cloud migration initiatives.

Amazon Web Services and next-generation database developer MongoDB have established a strategic alliance through which the two companies will collaborate across a broad range of go-to-market and customer support activities, including providing cloud migration services for customers and partners and launching joint development initiatives around AWS Graviton processors and AWS Outposts.

The extensive six-year collaboration agreement, unveiled Tuesday, elevates the status of the MongoDB Atlas cloud database on the AWS platform, despite the fact MongoDB competes with AWS’ own Amazon DocumentDB database.

The alliance marks a sharp turnaround from just several years ago when AWS competed more aggressively against MongoDB with DocumentDB.

[Related: AWS And Snowflake: ‘From True Competitors, To Frenemies To…An Alliance’ ]

“I would argue it was more competition than cooperation three years ago,” said Alan Chhabra, MongoDB executive vice president of worldwide partners, summing up the AWS-MongoDB dynamic during an interview with CRN. “Based on this agreement, AWS really, really took a huge step forward [compared to] where we were three years ago. AWS is being very intelligent here. They’re doing what’s in the best interests for customers.”

AWS has marketed Amazon DocumentDB as a “MongoDB-compatible” NoSQL database since its January 2019 debut, capable of running MongoDB workloads by supporting Apache 2.0 open-source MongoDB APIs.

But Chhabra said that over the last year or two AWS has taken a more agnostic approach to which database it sells to customers and, last year, began bringing more deals – especially within enterprise accounts – to MongoDB.

“So, 2021 was the breakthrough year where our sales force and their sales force really started working together,” Chhabra said. “This is a true go-to-market agreement, which basically marries the two companies together to best serve our customers.”

“AWS does not look at any of the spaces it’s in today as winner take all. We see customers needing a variety of solutions that fit their specific needs,” said Chris Grusz, director of business development, AWS Marketplace, Service Catalog and AWS Control Tower, in an emailed response to questions from CRN. “AWS works with all types of technology vendors as we firmly believe that providing selection to our customers is what is most important.”

Why the shift? “I think you can make the point that products that have imitated or emulated MongoDB cannot provide the features and functions to solve the most mission-critical applications as MongoDB Atlas can,” Chhabra says, diplomatically.

“Selection is a key principle in the Amazon Flywheel – customers buy from Amazon because we provide a wide selection of products and that principle is also true to AWS customers looking for technology needs,” Grusz said. (Amazon Flywheel is an Amazon virtuous cycle concept that leverages customer experience to drive traffic to the platform and third-party sellers, according to a definition on fourweekmba.com.)

“AWS has always believed in having a strong partner ecosystem and we have multiple examples of where similar solutions have thrived in the industry alongside AWS services,” Grusz continued. “Co-opetition not a new concept for us as we feel that as long as we provide our customers with the solutions they need, it’s a win-win for all parties involved.”

The AWS-MongoDB deal greatly expands an already budding relationship between the two companies. In November 2021 at the AWS re:Invent conference MongoDB announced a new pay-as-you-go MongoDB Atlas subscription service – including free trials – in the AWS Marketplace.

“Having MongoDB available on AWS marketplace makes it easy for customers to find and set up MongoDB without leaving AWS and consolidate billing directly on their AWS invoice,” Grusz said.

“MongoDB has been both a customer and trusted AWS partner for years, leveraging AWS’s broad and deep set of functionality, proven operational performance, and security to help organizations move their software and data into the cloud faster with a seamless user experience,” said Ruba Borno, vice president of Worldwide Channels and Alliances at AWS, in a statement announcing the partnership.

“Running MongoDB Atlas on AWS gives customers a richer application developer experience and helps customers make better use of their data,” Borno said. “MongoDB shares a mindset of driving innovation, improving reliability, and ensuring we support customers’ efforts to become more data-driven organizations in the cloud, whether they’re startups or enterprises, working within the private or public sector.”

Under the new pact AWS and MongoDB will collaborate across sales, marketing, customer support, solution architecture and other areas, essentially treating the MongoDB Atlas cloud database as an equal to AWS products. Shared developer relations activities, including training and enablement, are a key part of the deal. The agreement spans all geographical regions including the U.S., EMEA and APAC, as well as the U.S. public sector.

“Our joint customers love MongoDB because it’s flexible and easy to use and leverages a JSON-like format, which is popular with AWS users,” Grusz said. “AWS gains from this relationship because there are over 30,000 customers using MongoDB’s in-built platform. This large user base is already experienced and trained on MongoDB [and] a large number of them wish to use these skills while running MongoDB in their AWS environments.

(AWS will continue to offer the Amazon DocumentDB database product.)

A core element of the alliance is the creation of services to help customers who are running MongoDB-based applications on-premises to update those applications and migrate them to the MongoDB Atlas cloud service on AWS. The program goes beyond shifting applications to the cloud by providing services for redeveloping older applications for cloud architectures and dealing with data security and geographic data sovereignty issues.

“MongoDB and AWS have created what I consider to be the best-in-the-industry migration program to give customers incentives, the right type of architectures, best practices and service partners to move from on-premises to the cloud,” Chhabra said.

MongoDB Atlas listings on the AWS Marketplace are now easily discoverable on the AWS Management Console, the application used by some 6 million IT operators and developers for managing AWS resources.

The two companies are also working together to develop joint capabilities around AWS Graviton, the custom-built processors for powering Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud workloads, and AWS Outposts, the cloud giant’s line of managed services that extends AWS infrastructure, services and tools to customers’ on-premises systems.

MongoDB’s channel partners – particularly systems integrators and ISVs – will benefit from the alliance with AWS, according to Chhabra.

The two companies have many joint ISV partners who develop applications and industry-specific solutions that run on both MongoDB and AWS. Partners stand to gain from the tighter technology links and integration with the AWS Management Console that the partnership will produce and the extended support from both companies. And the cloud migration program will benefit MongoDB ISVs who want to redevelop their applications for the cloud, Chhabra said.

MongoDB’s systems integrator partners, including giants such as Accenture and smaller companies like PeerIslands that focus on IT and digital transformation services, also stand to gain from the cloud migration assistance and the technology integrations.

“Systems integrators are going to benefit because they can go to customers [and] help them migrate those workloads to AWS faster and also improve those workloads along the way,” Chhabra said. “Systems integrators have the ability to both help their customers and make money through this partnership.”

“This is an exciting announcement for our channel partners. As one example, now that MongoDB is in [the] AWS Marketplace our own channel partners have the potential to participate in a Channel Partner Private Offer with their customers,” Grusz said.

Despite the comprehensive pact, MongoDB isn’t limiting its cloud platform efforts to AWS, however. The database developer also has an extensive partnership with Google Cloud and its software runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. MongoDB also has OEM relationships with IBM, Rackspace Technology and Alibaba, which run the MongoDB database on their platforms.

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