MongoDB: From jokes to juggernaut

When I rejoined MongoDB in 2021, I got to hear all the previous jokes rehashed. You know, about MongoDB getting “web scale,” about losing knowledge, about only staying sooner or later reliable, and so on. The world-wide-web scale video clip is humorous the other statements have mostly been wrong because the working day they have been composed. For example, MongoDB has often been strongly dependable. The contentions that experienced some semblance of reality have turn out to be outdated with every single MongoDB launch. As Senior Developer Advocate Mark Smith notes, “Everything you know about MongoDB is completely wrong.”

Of system I’d say that. I perform for MongoDB, right after all.

Even so, I imagine it is worthwhile to intestine-test our assumptions. For illustration, for decades we have been explained to that enterprises couldn’t exchange Oracle Databases or SQL Server with PostgreSQL. For a lot of workloads, that is merely not correct currently and pretty much unquestionably was not as “true” just before as some would have experienced us think. Despite the fact that PostgreSQL has always experienced a good local community, it has also had a refrain of critics. Meanwhile, every single main cloud company has a PostgreSQL database assistance. Likely additional, in 2021 AWS released Babelfish, an open source job that tends to make it very simple to drop in PostgreSQL to applications created for SQL Server.

In like fashion, there is a motive that each important cloud service provider offers MongoDB in some form and that the database has been downloaded a lot more instances in the earlier 12 months than in the preceding 12 several years blended (for a grand complete of 265 million downloads to day). Both PostgreSQL and MongoDB have built extraordinary gains in acceptance relative to Oracle and SQL Server.

I never want to fanboy this write-up. But if you will indulge me, I’d really like to catch you up on a MongoDB you could not know and complete with a suggestion that just may shock you: MongoDB now prospects the market in protection, presented the release of Queryable Encryption.

Atomicity, transactions, etc.

I still left MongoDB in 2014, ideal in advance of the business strike overdrive on updates to the core databases. The enterprise had always been a developer darling thanks to its convenience, but all over this time MongoDB declared the acquisition of WiredTiger, which paved the way for doc-amount concurrency command and compression, commencing in MongoDB 3. (WiredTiger as an possibility) and evolving with MongoDB 3.2 (WiredTiger as the default).

A lot of the function of deeply integrating WiredTiger into MongoDB transpired in 2015, environment up a continuous drumbeat of database improvements for the future couple yrs, with 1 of my complete favorites—multi-document ACID transactions—arriving in MongoDB 4.. As MongoDB cofounder Eliot Horowitz wryly wrote in 2018, “MongoDB drops ACID,” and the MongoDB globe was never rather the very same thereafter. In MongoDB 5., the corporation launched a versioned API that permitted developers to improve the databases without the need of obtaining to modify their application, time collection operation, a new serverless offering, dwell resharding, and a lot more.

Most recently, at MongoDB Earth, the organization announced a variety of issues to make developers’ lives easier: Atlas Details API, serverless instances, Atlas CLI, and additional. For me, the two most fascinating thematic announcements have been in the places of analytics and security. Oh, and open source.

Analytics, in MongoDB’s entire world, are all about enabling developers to create improved apps, not about info analysts accomplishing offline investigation. In today’s earth, the want for a authentic-time look at of the business pushes details examination and reporting requirements closer to the applications that generate the facts. MongoDB evidently acknowledged this rising need and declared quite a few new methods to make working analytics towards operational facts easy, which includes a new SQL interface, Atlas Analytics Node Tiers, Atlas Knowledge Federation, and Atlas Information Lake.

Even so, it strikes me that the company’s key announcement in the space of making use of analytics to authentic-time facts was Columnstore Indexing. Due to the fact columnar formats are great for working analytical workloads, this indexing alternative will make it quick for builders to maintain files in the right model for their applications without having transferring the facts, and execute performant analytical queries from that knowledge in real time for their purposes.

If all this will come as a surprise to all those in the “MongoDB is net scale” camp, Queryable Encryption is an even bigger shocker.

Upping the ante on information security

Very little that MongoDB (or any databases company) releases would be of a great deal use if it could not match characteristics and performance with stability. MongoDB has very long provided fantastic safety, but the introduction of structured encryption for industry-level encryption moves issues to one more amount. Most databases have figured out how to safe information at relaxation or in motion but fail to secure information even though in use when it’s susceptible to insider entry and lively databases breaches. Enter industry-stage encryption. Discipline-level encryption guards information in memory and on disk on the server. It is the best level of safety for breaches, but it has a draw back: It does not allow for loaded, expressive querying of encrypted facts. Sure, you can do correct equality matches, but you have to use deterministic encryption.

Awesome, but not virtually sufficient.

Scientists have been doing work on this challenge since 2001, but this week MongoDB introduced the first-ever commercially offered, structured encryption product, named Queryable Encryption. With these structured encryption MongoDB can renovate the encrypted subject in a cryptographically protected way this sort of that it can retail store nameless metadata permitting expressive and effective queries to be done. As an case in point, structured encryption enables a developer to make a financial institution application that can find transactions using a assortment of dates or dollar amounts for fraud investigation.

This is very best-in-industry stuff and doesn’t leave MongoDB’s developer group at the rear of. In limited, MongoDB’s use of Queryable Encryption allows builders hold their concentrate on developing participating, info-pushed purposes when conference the industry’s most demanding knowledge privacy troubles. No PhD in cryptography essential.

This would be intriguing in and of itself, but MongoDB took an particularly noteworthy angle with Queryable Encryption: It will be 100% open up. As Porter declared in his keynote, “We will be publishing the code, the algorithms, and the math powering it due to the fact we imagine in white-box safety, not black-box security.”

This may perhaps arrive as a surprise to individuals who nonetheless carp on MongoDB’s license improve in 2019. (Developers do not feel to head, presented higher priorities.) But it shouldn’t. MongoDB is a contributor to Apache Lucene, releases WiredTiger less than an open up supply license, and also gives its Realm cell details store as open resource. It is uncomplicated to paint companies in binary, but it is usually wrong, as in this scenario.

All of this is a extended way of saying that potentially it’s time to hit “refresh” on your views on MongoDB. No, it is not going to be the suitable data platform for all of your workloads. Nothing at all is. But it is su
perior to make that determination dependent on latest actuality, not out-of-date myths.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.