NoSQL showdown: MongoDB vs. Couchbase

MongoDB edges Couchbase Server with richer querying and indexing options, as well as superior ease of use

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In addition to the new text search and geospatial capabilities discussed above, MongoDB 2.4 comes with performance and security improvements. The performance enhancements include the working set analyzer. The idea is that you want to configure your system so that the working set -- that subset of a databas accessed most frequently -- fits entirely in memory. But it was not easy to figure out your working set or how much memory you need. The working set analyzer, which operates like a helper function, provides diagnostic output to aid you in discovering the characteristics of your working set and tuning your system accordingly. In addition, the JavaScript engine has been replaced by Google's open source V8 engine. In the past, the JavaScript engine was single-threaded. V8 permits concurrent mapreduce jobs, as well as general speed improvements.

Finally, the Enterprise edition welcomes Kerberos-based authentication. In all editions, MongoDB now supports role-based privileges, which gives you finer-grained control over users' access and operations on databases and collections.

10gen's release of MongoDB 2.4 is accompanied by new subscription levels: Community, Basic, Standard, and Enterprise. The Community subscription level is free, but it's also free of any support. The other subscription levels provide varying support response times and hours of availability. In addition, the Enterprise subscription level comes with the Enterprise version of MongoDB, which has more security features and SNMP support. It has also undergone more rigorous testing.

Pros and cons: MongoDB 2.4

 
Pros
  • New release incorporates text search
  • New release adds improved JavaScript engine
  • Free MongoDB training courseware available from 10gen
Cons
  • Text index doesn't store proximity information
  • No GUI-based management console
  • Kerberos authentication available in Enterprise edition only

Mongo or Couch?
As usual, which product is the best choice depends heavily on the target application. Both are highly regarded NoSQL databases with outstanding pedigrees. On the one hand, MongoDB has spent much more of its lifetime as a document database, and its support for document-level querying and indexing is richer than that in Couchbase. On the other hand, Couchbase can serve equally well as a document database, a Memcached replacement, or both.

Happily, exploring either Couchbase or MongoDB is remarkably simple. A single-node system for either database server is easily installed. And if you want to experiment with a sharded system (and have enough memory and processor horsepower), you can easily set up a gang of virtual machines on a single system, and lash them together via a virtual network switch. The documentation for both systems is voluminous and well maintained. 10Gen even provides free online MongoDB classes for developers, complete with video lectures, quizzes, and homework.

This article, "NoSQL showdown: MongoDB vs. Couchbase," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in application development, data management, cloud computing, and open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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