MongoDB turns on, tunes in, drops ACID and goes mobile

Document database biz MongoDB is aiming to be all things to all people as it continues to court the enterprise and move up the stack, offering a mobile product, ACID compliance and global clusters.

The latest raft of announcements, made at the 10-year-old firm’s annual gabfest in New York, are part of efforts to win over both developers that are more used to legacy databases and those who want to build apps on mobiles.

MongoDB, which went public last year and earlier this month reported a boost in sales for the latest quarter but an increase in operating losses, is aiming at bigger logos as it tries to carve out its own space in the crowded database market.

Appealing to a broader church means making slight shifts – and one good example is the decision to offer multi-document ACID transactions, a feature that is generally available from today.

The document database biz had previously insisted that this isn’t necessary for non-relational types, but is somewhat back-pedalling as it tries to take on legacy vendors like Oracle.

“We firmly believe that 80 to 90 per cent of applications don’t need transaction,” product marketing director Matt Keep told The Register ahead of the announcement.

Cases where there is a potential need – where there is a many-to-many relationship that spans multiple documents – could include e-commerce applications, he said, though there is another reason the firm has made the jump.

“There are generations of devs and architects who have been conditioned by 30 or 40 years of relational data modelling to assume that any database that didn’t give you multi-records transactions was only suitable for a niche set of use cases,” Keep said.

“That objection completely goes away with this announcement; it really helps MongoDB be used much more broadly across a range of use cases.”

The firm has also announced the beta of a mobile product, with Keep emphasising that MongoDB is moving up the stack – however the launch also tackles one of the missing links that NoSQL rival Couchbase, which has yet to go public, trumpets on its website.

“There are more and more developers who are moving business logic and functionality to a frontend device, whether web browser or mobile devices – as well as the explosion in IoT,” Keep said.

Sending data back to the cloud is expensive and increases latency, so there needs to be some processing on the device, Keep said, but the only option until now has been to install an alternative database in the mobile application, with complicated syncing and limited functionality.

MongoDB Mobile offers real-time automatic syncing between data held on the device and the backend database, allowing devs to use the same data model and query language – which should make it quicker and easier to build applications.

The mobile product is also sold as part of MongoDB’s pitch of being the database that can run anywhere.

Another announcement is the launch of global clusters to its Database as a Service MongoDB Atlas, which is now available in 50 regions around the world across AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

The global cluster will allow customers to read and write data from any location in the world, promising low latency applications and data sovereignty for firms that need it. ®

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