MongoDB 3.0 rides WiredTiger engine to boost database speeds

The latest version of MongoDB finds the NoSQL database running on a new WiredTiger storage engine. Better performance and data compression are among MongoDB 3.0's touted benefits.

Each quarter, the editors at SearchDataManagement recognize a data management technology for innovation and market impact. The product selected this quarter is the MongoDB 3.0 database from MongoDB Inc.

Product: MongoDB 3.0

Release date: March 3, 2015

What it does

MongoDB is a document-oriented NoSQL database that has found use in a variety of applications built around mobile, cloud and Web computing architectures. Available as open source software, the database is also offered and supported commercially by vendor MongoDB Inc. in two editions. MongoDB Enterprise Advanced includes a choice of on-premises or cloud-based management tools plus advanced security features, on-demand training and commercial licensing, while the more entry-level MongoDB Professional supports database monitoring and administration via the cloud, as well as an optional cloud backup service.

Version 3.0 updates to the core MongoDB platform include something of a rewrite of the database's storage architecture. MongoDB 3.0 employs a new default storage engine originally created by WiredTiger, a startup purchased last year by MongoDB Inc. The WiredTiger engine is meant to reduce data locking and to speed parallel processing in write-intensive applications -- for example, processing of mobile call detail records, sensor data ingestion and analysis, and social media data updates. In 3.0, the original standard MongoDB data engine, dubbed MMAP, becomes an option.

Why it matters

MongoDB says WiredTiger provides up to 10 times faster throughput on write-intensive applications than the database previously could muster. But users also have a choice: MongoDB 3.0 supports the concept of pluggable storage engines, allowing different data stores -- WiredTiger, MMAP and others -- to be used for different application purposes. That could help widen the potential uses for the software, one of a slew of NoSQL databases that forgo established relational processes in order to accommodate more flexible data schemas. The NoSQL technologies offer a less rigorous style of data integrity than mainstream SQL databases do, but they don't require the rigid upfront data modeling associated with SQL.

To increase its database management capabilities, MongoDB also released along with 3.0 a new Ops Manager tool set that automates tasks related to deployment, monitoring and scaling. Other elements added in the new version include a new query framework, enhanced multithreaded tools and support for large-scale data replications via globally distributed replica sets.

Since releasing MongoDB 3.0, the vendor has also detailed a 3.1 upgrade with additional management and modeling tools. That has yet to be released, though; it's now anticipated that when the 3.1 features are deemed product-ready, they'll be made available in a release to be named MongoDB 3.2.

What users say

Ease of development and data flexibility were among the reasons that Apervita Inc. chose MongoDB to support a new health analytics exchange it has developed. The Chicago-based company was looking for software that didn't set tight strictures on how to handle data, according to Mike Oltman, Apervita's managing director of technology.

Oltman and his colleagues have built a hosted service that acts as an online market to bring together hospital and clinical research data and analytics capabilities. They opted for MongoDB because it could support the wide variety of data models and data formats that Apervita's users might employ, Oltman said. "We knew medical data didn't fit well in a general schema," he explained. "Moreover, our customers each work from a different schema. With MongoDB, we can store data based on individual customers' requirements, and we don't have to ask them to conform to a single approach."

Apervita began its efforts with the freely downloadable version of MongoDB, before deciding to implement Version 2.0 of the database's enterprise edition. Oltman gives MongoDB 3.0 good marks, saying his team has completed an evaluation of the new version and expects to move to it late this year or in early 2016, depending on other development priorities.

"Compression is where WiredTiger looks really good," Oltman said, discussing the storage engine's support for document-level locking with data compression. He noted that improvements with WiredTiger also address concurrency issues Apervita had encountered with read and write contention in earlier MongoDB releases.


• WiredTiger storage engine boosts performance and supports document-level concurrency and data compression for reducing data volumes by as much as 80% compared to MongoDB running a MMAPv1 engine.

• Faster data loads and extracts are enabled via enhanced multithreaded import/export tools.

• Ops Manager tooling automates deployment, while enabling dynamic resizing of storage capacity by adding replica set members and shards.

• Anticipated with a planned MongoDB 3.2 upgrade is management software, code-named MongoScout, that will give developers and data managers a view into data structures. Document validation rules are also due with the upgrade.


MongoDB doesn't disclose specific pricing on its database or Ops Manager, which are offered on a subscription basis with technical support included. The company's Cloud Manager tool for administering databases in the cloud costs $39 per database server on a monthly basis or $379 annually.

Next Steps

Read the news on swappable MongoDB engines
Listen to a podcast on the MongoDB World 2014 conference
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