MongoDB and 10gen
Discussion of MongoDB and its sponsoring company 10gen.
I’m frequently asked to generalize in some way about in-memory or memory-centric data management. I can start:
- The desire for human real-time interactive response naturally leads to keeping data in RAM.
- Many databases will be ever cheaper to put into RAM over time, thanks to Moore’s Law. (Most) traditional databases will eventually wind up in RAM.
- However, there will be exceptions, mainly on the machine-generated side. Where data creation and RAM data storage are getting cheaper at similar rates … well, the overall cost of RAM storage may not significantly decline.
Getting more specific than that is hard, however, because:
- The possibilities for in-memory data storage are as numerous and varied as those for disk.
- The individual technologies and products for in-memory storage are much less mature than those for disk.
- Solid-state options such as flash just confuse things further.
Consider, for example, some of the in-memory data management ideas kicking around. Read more
- This is a list of Monash Advantage members.
- All our vendor clients are Monash Advantage members, unless …
- … we work with them primarily in their capacity as technology users. (A large fraction of our user clients happen to be SaaS vendors.)
- We do not usually disclose our user clients.
- We do not usually disclose our venture capital clients, nor those who invest in publicly-traded securities.
- Excluded from this round of disclosure is one vendor I have never written about.
- Included in this round of disclosure is one client paying for services partly in stock. All our other clients are cash-only.
For reasons explained below, I’ll group the clients geographically. Obviously, companies often have multiple locations, but this is approximately how it works from the standpoint of their interactions with me. Read more
I checked in with James Phillips for a Couchbase update, and I understand better what’s going on. In particular:
- Give or take minor tweaks, what I wrote in my August, 2010 Couchbase updates still applies.
- Couchbase now and for the foreseeable future has one product line, called Couchbase.
- Couchbase 2.0, the first version of Couchbase (the product) to use CouchDB for persistence, has slipped …
- … because more parts of CouchDB had to be rewritten for performance than Couchbase (the company) had hoped.
- Think mid-year or so for the release of Couchbase 2.0, hopefully sooner.
- In connection with the need to rewrite parts of CouchDB, Couchbase has:
- Gotten out of the single-server CouchDB business.
- Donated its proprietary single-sever CouchDB intellectual property to the Apache Foundation.
- The 150ish new customers in 2011 Couchbase brags about are real, subscription customers.
- Couchbase has 60ish people, headed to >100 over the next few months.
|Categories: Basho and Riak, Cassandra, Couchbase, CouchDB, DataStax, Market share and customer counts, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Open source, Parallelization, Web analytics, Zynga||6 Comments|
Last week I visited with James Phillips of Couchbase, Max Schireson and Eliot Horowitz of 10gen, and Todd Lipcon, Eric Sammer, and Omer Trajman of Cloudera. I guess it’s time for a round-up NoSQL post.
Views of the NoSQL market horse race are reasonably consistent, with perhaps some elements of “Where you stand depends upon where you sit.”
- As James tells it, NoSQL is simply a three-horse race between Couchbase, MongoDB, and Cassandra.
- Max would include HBase on the list.
- Further, Max pointed out that metrics such as job listings suggest MongoDB has the most development activity, and Couchbase/Membase/CouchDB perhaps have less.
- The Cloudera guys remarked on some serious HBase adopters.*
- Everybody I spoke with agreed that Riak had little current market presence, although some Basho guys could surely be found who’d disagree.
|Categories: Basho and Riak, Cassandra, Cloudera, Clustering, Couchbase, HBase, Market share and customer counts, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Open source, Oracle, Parallelization||12 Comments|
I spoke with Eliot Horowitz and Max Schierson of 10gen last month about MongoDB users and use cases. The biggest clusters they came up with weren’t much over 100 nodes, but clusters an order of magnitude bigger were under development. The 100 node one we talked the most about had 33 replica sets, each with about 100 gigabytes of data, so that’s in the 3-4 terabyte range total. In general, the largest MongoDB databases are 20-30 TB; I’d guess those really do use the bulk of available disk space. Read more
|Categories: Data models and architecture, Games and virtual worlds, Log analysis, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Solid-state memory, Specific users, Splunk, Telecommunications, Web analytics||12 Comments|
As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:
- Facebook et al. are in effect Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors, not enterprise technology users. In particular:
- They have the technical chops to rewrite their code as needed.
- Unlike packaged software vendors, they’re not answerable to anybody for keeping legacy code alive after a rewrite. That makes migration a lot easier.
- If they want to write different parts of their system on different technical underpinnings, nobody can stop them. For example …
- … Facebook innovated Cassandra, and is now heavily committed to HBase.
- It makes little sense to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL.” Better to talk of Facebook’s use of “MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding.” That said:
- It’s hard to see why somebody today would use MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for a new project. At least one of Couchbase or transparently-sharded MySQL is very likely a superior alternative. Other alternatives might be better yet.
- As noted above in the example of Facebook, the many major web businesses that are using MySQL + memcached + non-transparent sharding for existing projects can be presumed able to migrate away from that stack as the need arises.
Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:
- If you just want to write to the memcached API anyway, why not go with Couchbase?
- If you want to go relational, why not go with MySQL? There are many alternatives for scaling or accelerating MySQL — dbShards, Schooner, Akiban, Tokutek, ScaleBase, ScaleDB, Clustrix, and Xeround come to mind quickly, so there’s a great chance that one or more will fit your use case. (And if you don’t get the choice of MySQL flavor right the first time, porting to another one shouldn’t be all THAT awful.)
- If you really, really want to go in-memory, and don’t mind writing Java stored procedures, and don’t need to do the kinds of joins it isn’t good at, but do need to do the kinds of joins it is, VoltDB could indeed be a good alternative.
And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.
We hear much these days about unstructured or semi-structured (as opposed to) structured data. Those are misnomers, however, for at least two reasons. First, it’s not really the data that people think is un-, semi-, or fully structured; it’s databases.* Relational databases are highly structured, but the data within them is unstructured — just lists of numbers or character strings, whose only significance derives from the structure that the database imposes.
*Here I’m using the term “database” literally, rather than as a concise synonym for “database management system”. But see below.
Second, a more accurate distinction is not whether a database has one structure or none – it’s whether a database has one structure or many. The easiest way to see this is for databases that have clearly-defined schemas. A relational database has one schema (even if it is just the union of various unrelated sub-schemas); an XML database, however, can have as many schemas as it contains documents.
One small terminological problem is easily handled, namely that people don’t talk about true databases very often, at least when they’re discussing generalities; rather, they talk about data and DBMS.* So let’s talk of DBMS being “structured” singly or multiply or whatever, just as the databases they’re designed to manage are.
*And they refer to the DBMS as “databases,” because they don’t have much other use for the word.
All that said — I think that single vs. multiple database structures isn’t a bright-line binary distinction; rather, it’s a spectrum. For example: Read more
|Categories: Cassandra, Couchbase, Data models and architecture, HBase, IBM and DB2, MarkLogic, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Splunk, Theory and architecture||18 Comments|
There’s been a flurry of announcements recently in the Hadoop world. Much of it has been concentrated on Hadoop data storage and management. This is understandable, since HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) is quite a young (i.e. immature) system, with much strengthening and Bottleneck Whack-A-Mole remaining in its future.
Known HDFS and Hadoop data storage and management issues include but are not limited to:
- Hadoop is run by a master node, and specifically a namenode, that’s a single point of failure.
- HDFS compression could be better.
- HDFS likes to store three copies of everything, whereas many DBMS and file systems are satisfied with two.
- Hive (the canonical way to do SQL joins and so on in Hadoop) is slow.
Different entities have different ideas about how such deficiencies should be addressed. Read more
|Categories: Aster Data, Cassandra, Cloudera, Data warehouse appliances, DataStax, EMC, Greenplum, Hadapt, Hadoop, IBM and DB2, MapReduce, MongoDB and 10gen, Netezza, Parallelization||22 Comments|
Along with CouchDB/Couchbase, MongoDB was one of the top examples I had in mind when I wrote about document-oriented NoSQL. Invented by 10gen, MongoDB is an open source, no-schema DBMS, so it is suitable for very quick development cycles. Accordingly, there are a lot of MongoDB users who build small things quickly. But MongoDB has heftier uses as well, and naturally I’m focused more on those.
MongoDB’s data model is based on BSON, which seems to be JSON-on-steroids. In particular:
- You just bang things into single BSON objects managed by MongoDB; there is nothing like a foreign key to relate objects. However …
- … there are fields, datatypes, and so on within MongoDB BSON objects. The fields are indexed.
- There’s a multi-value/nested-data-structure flavor to MongoDB; for example, a BSON object might store multiple addresses in an array.
- You can’t do joins in MongoDB. Instead, you are encouraged to put what might be related records in a relational database into a single MongoDB object. If that doesn’t suffice, then use client-side logic to do the equivalent of joins. If that doesn’t suffice either, you’re not looking at a good MongoDB use case.
|Categories: Clustering, Data models and architecture, MapReduce, MongoDB and 10gen, NoSQL, Parallelization||10 Comments|
10gen, as you probably knew, is the company behind MongoDB. I’ve talked with Dwight Merriman of 10gen a few times, which is why his thoughts were featured in at least three different posts on NoSQL/document-oriented-database generalities. I also talked a month ago with new 10gen President Max Schireson (who at one point was the #2 guy at MarkLogic) and CTO Eliot Horowitz. After some delay, 10gen gave me permission to post some January, 2011 slides that summarize company status, target markets, customer brags — excuse me, customer success — and so on. Maybe it’s time I actually blogged about 10gen and MongoDB.
By the way, our vendor client disclosures are a bit out of date in the area of short-request processing data management. The list is actually 10gen /MongoDB, Cloudera/HBase, CodeFutures/dbShards, Couchbase, DataStax/Cassandra, MarkLogic (yes, I count them, even though I didn’t count them as “NoSQL”), salesforce.com/database.com, and Schooner Information Technology.
10gen company highlights include:
- 10gen boasts a couple hundred paying customers total, but that includes small consulting/training deals.
- 10gen has dozens of MongoDB support subscription customers. That figure was around 25 in August.
- Like similar vendors, 10gen plans to add some proprietary code to its MongoDB support subscription services.
- 10gen is bicoastal, having started in New York City but ramping up in Redwood Shores. For one thing, a lot of 10gen’s customers are in the SF Bay area.
- 10gen headcount was 16 or so in August, 25-30 in January.
For a bit more detail, please see the slides linked above. I shall now do a separate post that is actually about MongoDB.