The Six Five – On The Road Partner Edition at MongoDB .local NYC with Citi’s Mayank Shah

By Patrick Moorhead - June 23, 2023

On this episode of The Six Five – On The Road Partner Edition, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Citi’s Mayank Shah, Head of Cloud Engineering & Tech Fellow, for a discussion during MongoDB’s .local NYC event.

Their discussion covers:

  • A look at Citi’s partnership with MongoDB
  • How the use of MongoDB’s products benefits Citi’s business
  • Why MongoDB plays a pivotal role in the future of databases, and the future use-cases in their partnership
  • What Mayank sees trending in the industry with regard to “on prem” and cloud databases

You can watch the full video here:

You can listen to the conversation here:

Disclaimer: The Six Five webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded, and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors, and we ask that you do not treat us as such.


Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorehead and the Six Five is live here at MongoDB local in New York City. And as you can hear from all the activity around us, we have multiple things going on at the same time. Five simultaneous stages going on, and we’re just sitting here having great conversations here at the show. Daniel, how are you my friend?

Daniel Newman: It’s been a lot of fun. Global SIs, partners, of course, MongoDB executives.

Patrick Moorhead: Yes.

Daniel Newman: You and I love talking to customers. A lot of talk about AI, and by the way, there’s been a lot of talk, but maybe not enough about something else I know is near and dear to your heart and that’s the cloud.

Patrick Moorhead: Yes, I love the cloud, but the grand purifier of all these conversations is talking to customers. Customers like Daniel and I are pundits, we do predictions and things like that, but the rubber meets the road with you. Mayank, thank you for coming on the show with Citi. I mean, I don’t even have to explain to anybody what Citi does, but welcome to the Six Five.

Mayank Shah: Well, thank you gents for having me over. This is a great time. I mean, this event is just awesome. It’s been just a keynote speech and everything else you’ve had, just an amazing day today.

Patrick Moorhead: For sure.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. It’s really great to have you here. As a customer, Ground Truth, as we’ve been kind of trying to say, you’re here, you’re listening to Dave making the announcements, you’re listening to the product team, going a little bit deeper talking about what is search or vector or stream and what is this going to mean for your business. I’m sure it’s resonating in your mind. So maybe just start with a little bit of background on the partnership between Citi and MongoDB.

Mayank Shah: It’s an amazing partnership. It’s really great. It’s thought-provoking. When you think about the account management team we have and their extended team, they’re really engaging with us on a very regular basis. Citibank, we’re a global brand. We have multiple sectors, so you can imagine the depth and breadth of our use cases and the engagement that’s needed, sometimes just to understand how to use the product and the use cases. And the team at Mongo really partners with us well. They come to us, they look at our use cases, our problems within certain sectors, but then they also bring together what’s happening throughout the bank globally. So it’s the learning from within the bank and their experiences. And then it’s not just what’s going on today. The partnership’s great because it’s forward-thinking. So they look at where we are, where the industry’s going and where should we be going. And it’s those conversations. And then it’s not always about Mongo. They really bring in other partners and vendors in the conversation. So it’s an amazing partnership that we have with our friends here at Mongo.

Patrick Moorhead: I have to tell you what, I mean, the testimony that you’re giving right now is incredible. And your business, you don’t mess around. You’re in financial services. It’s a very serious business and there’s a lot of money at stake here. So you talked about all the things that MongoDB does for you. How does that translate to benefits to you? I mean, is it time to digital transformation? Is it about security? Is it about something completely different, the end benefit they provide?

Mayank Shah: A lot of benefit is really to our customer, is that if you talk about the industry and the money that we protect, so that’s an important aspect of what we need to do. But the technology, the usage and the depth is just getting so much more complicated. But what MongoDB does is simplifies it. But something my daughter said not too long ago is that you do what you do and let us do what we do. And so we’re a bank, let us focus on the business problems of the bank and let Mongo take care of the plumbing.

So just think about it this morning at the keynote, they announced stream processing. Basically take the boilerplate code out of what we do today and let us worry about the business problem. So really there’s a lot of benefit that we can get, but just by built-in features of Mongo that as a programmer we want to write code, but also as a programmer, we want to write functions that make end value to our customer and the enterprise, and that’s what Mongo really enables for us.

Daniel Newman: That’s really interesting. I’m kind of listening to you and we know AI is kind of this hot topic and it’s probably going to shape a lot of how you engineer the cloud to be able to support those generative apps you intend to build, the observability you need of your IT infrastructure and systems. And so you have to think about the partners and the solutions you’re going to build out to make sure that your database is going to stay up to date with what the applications are going to demand of it. Is what you’re hearing today, what you’re seeing from MongoDB, are they showing in your mind the right moves, the right trajectory to be the database that not only can manage today and even manage the AI things that you think about, but what about the apps that we know are coming and they’re going to come really, really quickly? Are you feeling there? Is MongoDB the database of the future for you?

Mayank Shah: I don’t know what the future entails.

Daniel Newman: Come on.

Mayank Shah: Gen AI… I wish I had a crystal ball.

Daniel Newman: I wanted him to tell me so then I could write about it.

Mayank Shah: In the last three to four weeks, really, I’ve had many conversations around Gen AI from Mongo and their partners as well. And it’s just an amazing transformation of where things are going. What I could say about Mongo is it’s at the center because AI is about data and you’ve got the data in Mongo and now you take AI models and you run them against that data set. It’s a very interesting proposition how this is going to transform because do you want to move data between system one, two and three or do you want to leave the data where it is and then maybe run these machine learning models right where it is? So really, I can’t tell you what’s there tomorrow, but it’s really quite interesting.

And you ask about, am I seeing enough? Are we seeing enough? Just this morning in the keynote when we spoke about AI, but then one of the great things that we heard from Dave was around PII, privacy, encryption. So when you start thinking about things like AI, AI brings all of those complexities. And so now when you have not just data at rest that’s encrypted, but data at compute that can stay encrypted and searchable, encrypted queries, I mean quite interesting. So this is why I said we don’t know what the future holds, but what I heard today that really is very, very, very much promising of where we should be going.

Patrick Moorhead: I want to shift the conversation to one of my favorite topics. And by the way, judging by your title, one of your favorite topics too, which is the cloud and how it relates to database. Ten years ago I wasn’t very popular when I essentially said that the future is really going to be hybrid, meaning we’re going to run cloud models on-prem and we’re going to use multiple cloud providers, multiple ISs providers. And I think it is just a reality today, and I can’t have a conversation… Every week I talk to a Fortune 500 enterprise and they’re all using multiple IS vendors, but the challenge is they’ve got multiple stacks of resources that remind me over 30 years ago when I started my career where there was a mainframe team, a mini computer team, an ex-Citi client server team. I mean different teams for everything, and people are able to manage that, but it just takes a lot of people and a lot of time, so I’m a big fan of these cross cloud services. I’m curious from your database point of view, how do you see this shaking out in the hybrid multi-cloud or I’ll just say the cloud?

Mayank Shah: If you think about whether it’s Mongo or any other database and you take data out of let’s say mainframes and you bring it into a more modern infrastructure like Mongo, mongo offers you a lot of capabilities. And I’m not here just to speak of Mongo, but just the power that you need from any programming technology. You’ve got Lambda, you’ve got REST APIs, you’ve got aggregation. So now you can actually have your data on a platform that you could use to create a lot of enriched capabilities. So if you think about insights, insight doesn’t always need real time instantaneous data. You still have your mainframes, let’s say, where your transaction processing sits, but then you have these layer of operational data stores that Mongo can provide you. And now with that, what you could do is build amazing new capabilities, which we have done, and we’ll probably have more coming. Think about insights, categorization, alerts, there’s a lot that you could do.

And then over time, I think what you’ll see is as you adopt more and more of cloud native technologies, you’ll probably start retiring some of the legacy or the older technologies as well. And then you’ll naturally stay on more of the cloud native platforms.

Patrick Moorhead: And is that hybrid on-prem, is it a combination in the public cloud? Is it going to be everywhere or is it going to be primarily on-prem?

Mayank Shah: The trend is likely to shift more towards public cloud. There are certain things that are, especially in the financial industries that you’ve got to be very careful of, whether it’s around encryption, PII, sensitive data, and what are the modeling around that. And it’s just a matter of time. It’s a matter of time either where people understand the problem and know that the right controls are in place to manage it, and the technology is evolved around it. So the shift is likely to be more towards the public cloud platform and slowly retire the on-prem, and until then you’ll see a hybrid.

Patrick Moorhead: Interesting.

Daniel Newman: You do think though, that we will land because I think Andy Jassy said it’s like 90%/10%. I think Antonio Neri and at HPE this week said something like 70% of enterprise workloads are still on-prem. You’re saying though, that they’re saying 90%/10% prem, 70%/30% prem, you’re saying that over time you think that pendulum swing will come more to parity and then maybe even at some point more workloads will end up in the public cloud?

Mayank Shah: I think so. There’s two factors to this. The first factor is cost. If you can justify turning off your data center and move to public cloud, that helps your CFO and others understand the value of the cloud. And then the second piece is just look around us. You have a lot of great vendors here offering cloud native technologies. And so it’s just as more and more technologies and new services and capabilities are built for public cloud and it’s a natural fit that the adoption just continues to grow. So it’s less about just is the public cloud the better platform? But I think it’s just where everything’s naturally going. Look back 25 years ago, C++ was the development environment and the programming language of choice by many. And then when Java came around and over time it grew. So I think it’s just a natural adoption from where we are to where we’ll get to just because of the capabilities and the cost justifications.

Daniel Newman: I think the operating model idea that cloud is an operating model and even the prem based offerings are being built to feel, look and operate more like the cloud is in the end, the operating model becomes a full pendulum of all cloud, whether it’s on your prem, in an Equinox data center, or happens to be in the true hyperscalers public cloud.

Mayank Shah: Oh, absolutely. Because if you think about it, when we think about the cloud, the bottom line is it’s running somewhere. I just don’t know where it’s running, somebody else’s managing it for me, whether it’s my technology group or somebody else’s technology group. So exactly like you said, it’s really we’re building applications to look like it. And to be cloud native where it’s hosted is the secondary aspect.

Daniel Newman: Absolutely.

Patrick Moorhead: I want to thank you so much for joining us here on the Six Five.

Mayank Shah: Well really thank you for having me over. It’s just a great event. I hope you guys stick around longer here.

Daniel Newman: Thank you.

Patrick Moorhead: It was great to meet you. Great to chat with your daughter. All right, everyone, there you have it. We just talked to Citi, their head of cloud engineering, all about not just the cloud, but AI, about where workloads are going to live in the future and some great insights for us to write about.

Daniel Newman: Exactly.

Patrick Moorhead: And we hope you tune into all of the episodes here from MongoDB local here in New York. Of course, tune into all the Six Five episodes. We have hundreds of them. We talk to customers, we talk to partners, we talk to the CEOs of the world’s largest tech companies. That’s what we do here on the Six Five. But for this episode on the road, we got to go. We’ll see y’all soon. Thanks.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.