The NoSQL world just got a little smaller. Popular NoSQL databases CouchDB and Membase announced yesterday that the projects and companies behind them would be merging. The resulting project is called Couchbase, and it includes the hard-drive- based CouchDB object storage of CouchDB with the live in-memory caching capabilities of Membase.

James Phillips, chief products officer and senior vice president of products at Membase, said that the first fully integrated release of Couchbase will arrive this summer. He also said that merging the two projects is, “not as complex as one might imagine.

“Membase is front end; it’s cache and dataflow management technology. It goes and gets stuff out of memory and on to disk. The other part of Membase is the SQL Light engine. We’re simply replacing that with CouchDB… That’s the initial integration we’re going to do. The result is CouchDB writes a lot faster, so we can drain from cache to disk quickly, and Couch understands that. It’s an incredibly low amount of effort to get unbelievable improvements in functionality,” said Phillips.”

Damien Katz, creator of CouchDB and newly minted CTO of Couchbase, said that “adding the Membase front end to CouchDB means we can scale out to much higher work loads, and retain all CouchDB functionality.”

Katz said that Couchbase will continue its recent push into mobile applications. He said that the mobile capabilities of CouchDB will remain the same in Couchbase. “Membase keeps a lot of things in memory for high performance. On a phone, that’s not important. That’s the beauty of Couch: Wwe always designed it not to cache things. The mobile side is plain CouchDB.,” said Katz.

Perhaps the biggest benefit offered by the merger, according to Phillips, is the combination of Membase’s caching functions and CouchDB’s synchronization capabilities.

“The Couch sync technology does tie together elastic Couchbase with mobile Couchbase.. This is the use case our customers are most excited about,” said Phillips.
“Imagine Zynga. They have 230 million active users a month, and storing all that gaming information in Membase today. At the same time, Zynga has built a native iOS application for many of their games, and if they choose to use mobile Couchbase under those games, the ability to use Couch and sync between a native iPhone app and their data-center deployed Elastic Couchbase is a capability that not only makes sense and is unique, but I would argue is one of the bigggeer problems enterprises face. The product family we’re able to create from these technologies will offer a unique solution to those troubles,” said Phillips..”

Couchbase will arrive this summer, and will be a free NoSQL upon release. Couchbase, the company, will continue to offer hosted database services, and will be headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., where Membase was located.