MongoDB on Couchbase agility: nice idea, now let's talk about real flexibility

Couchbase went all bullish this week and said that its Multi-Dimensional Scaling capabilities in release 4.0 of Couchbase Server are the best thing since sliced bananas.

The firm was all technical and polite to start with and said that multi-dimensional database scaling provides the option to isolate database query, index and data services.

Yup, we’re with you so far, what’s the problem?

No wait there are more guts first, Couchbase also explained that a multi-dimensional approach means that hardware resources can be independently assigned and optimised on a per node basis, as application requirements change.

That’s still really nice and interesting, what’s the problem?

Ah well then, Couchbase went all points-scoring PR-centric and issued a press release saying that, “Unlike MongoDB, Oracle, Cassandra and other databases that have a limiting ‘one size fits all’ approach to scaling, Couchbase is…”

Couchbase is what?

Oh sorry, Couchbase is enabling organisations to precisely provision hardware to meet application performance requirements.

CEO Bob Wiederhold rammed it home and said that with Multi-Dimensional Scaling, enterprises can independently assign and scale the index, query and data services to specific servers.

Yeah we got that bit, what else?

“This improves performance, reduces hardware costs, and enables enterprises to support a much broader set of applications with a single database: Couchbase Server,” said Wiederhold.

That’s quite up front to shout out your open source buddies in this way isn’t it?

Ah well not so much, this is commercial open source and all is fair in love and unpublished code documentation, as they say.

What did MongoDB have to say about it?

Mat Keep, principal product manager at MongoDB agreed that different applications have different requirements.

He also said that being able to deliver the widest range of applications from a single database has been a hallmark for MongoDB since its inception — and key to its broad adoption.

“Regarding this launch, it’s far too early to know much about the product, given the lack of details — and that no code or documentation has been published,” said Keep.

“For many years now, MongoDB has provided the industry’s most flexible scaling and workload isolation. With replica sets and location-aware sharding, users can maximise their resource utilisation, precisely allocate specific hardware to specific data and processing, and adapt to evolving demands in their deployments, without taking their applications offline. As for any specific performance claims, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Gosh it’s all getting a bit heated in the open source database wars isn’t it? Well it is a bit and Oracle hasn’t even stepped in here yet?

Let’s go with a final word from a level-headed dimension-agnostic analyst of good repute.

“Enterprises are faced with a broad range of data processing requirements, for which they have traditionally relied on extending the relational model and, more recently, combined a variety of specialist NoSQL databases,” commented Matt Aslett, research director, data platforms and analytics at the 451 Group.

Aslett says that his firm’s research suggests that enterprises are making strategic investments in more agile, multi-model databases that serve a variety of needs.

The Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog says that multi-dimensional multi-model multi-modal (note both model and modal) is compelling attractive and needs more discussion.

Let’s just all play nice together shall we?