MongoDB 2.6 - NoSQL all grown up

New release has MongoDB living up to its potential.

NoSQL databases have been bursting into the market for a few years now. However, many DBAs still winked and smiled when discussing NoSQL, the way an older cousin looks down on a younger relative. Cute and sassy, but really if you want to play with toys, go ahead. With the latest release of MongoDB, that is just not the case anymore. MongoDB 2.6 is NoSQL all grown up.

Yes, we know how much money some of the leading NoSQLs have raised. Yes, we know how some of the unicorns of the web used NoSQL for incredible scalability and speed, but NoSQL in general was thought to be lacking in several areas. One was security. Another was ease of use, support, and, probably most of all, overall maturity.

With this release, MongoDB has really raised the bar. I recently caught up with Kelly Stirman, Director of Product at MongoDB. Kelly said everyone at MongoDB is very excited with 2.6. It seems to have something for everyone. The feedback from the community and customers has been fantastic.

Among the leading new features in MongoDB 2.6 according to their own site are:

MMS - MongoDB Management Service simplifies how organizations run MongoDB systems at scale. MMS now includes continuous, incremental backup; point-in-time recovery; monitoring, visualization and alerts on 100+ parameters; on-prem deployments for MongoDB subscribers and a fully-managed solution in the cloud. Alpha features include simple, single-click provisioning and hot upgrades.

Index Intersection - Index intersection provides more flexible, adaptive analytical capabilities, making it easier to run ad-hoc analyses to answer evolving business questions. Developers no longer need to predict all data access patterns in advance as more than one index can be used to optimize a query.

Improved Scalability & Performance - Organizations can scale more easily and at lower cost. MongoDB 2.6 provides more efficient use of network resources; oplog processing is 75% faster; classes of scan, sort, $in and $all performance are significantly improved; and bulk operators for writes improve updates by as much as 5x.

Text Search - Users have come to expect search as a primary means of accessing data in apps. Developers can now deliver search as a feature without the added complexity of a separate, dedicated search engine. MongoDB 2.6 integrates text search into the MongoDB Query Language and the Aggregation Framework, and provides powerful search for 15 languages.

Enterprise Security - Securing data is a top priority for many organizations, and MongoDB 2.6 provides best-in-class security functionality. Building on the support in MongoDB Enterprise 2.4 for roles, Kerberos authentication and SSL encryption, MongoDB Enterprise 2.6 adds field-level redaction, customizable auditing, LDAP and x509 authentication, collection-level authorization and user-defined roles.

Bulk Update Operators - Organizations can now manipulate large data volumes more efficiently than ever before. New bulk operations make it simple and efficient to load, update and delete large volumes of data in MongoDB. Bulk operations automatically parallelize updates across the system, and return a report of failed operations that can be retried by the application.

Pipelined Data Transformations - Data can be summarized, enhanced, aggregated and refined to better serve users from within the database. MongoDB 2.6 provides multi-step data enrichment and transformations natively in the database using a simple declarative interface. With the new $out stage, results sets from the aggregation pipeline can be written to a named collection with no limit to the output size.

Simplified Operations - MongoDB 2.6 simplifies and lowers the cost of operating MongoDB at scale. Indexing can be performed in the background, yielding to foreground operations and auto-resumes after restart; with MaxTimeMS operators and developers can specify auto-cancellation of queries, providing better control of resource utilization; mixed SSLconnections; expanded SNMP support; more efficient repair operations; and a new default space allocation configuration provides more predictable performance.

That is quite a list of improvements, especially for just a point release! For me, the biggest ones are the MMS and Security upgrades. For too long, many said NoSQL stood for no security. That is plainly not the case anymore.

The MMS features give MongoDB the polish you would expect from a prime time tool. I had a chance to speak with Chris Price, Senior Director of Content Management Systems at Viacom, who was a beta tester of the new version. Chris raved about the increased speed and stability and most of all the MMS features. At Viacom Digital, they have so much content and so many calls every day that every millisecond counts. MongoDB 2.6 was noticeably faster.

Also, the metrics for MongoDB are eye-popping. In just about five years MongoDB has seen 7 million downloads of its open-source database, 1,000 customers, 150,000 online education registrations, 30,000 user group members, and 20,000 MongoDB Days attendees.

So it appears that the little cousin is now all grown up. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL and others better take notice. MongoDB has truly arrived.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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