Finding the money

MongoDB adds native text search, spins off enterprise edition

Elliot Bentley

New release of popular NoSQL database takes aim at commercial market with security and monitoring features.

An update to popular NoSQL database MongoDB released today introduces a built-in text search ability, hash-based sharding and much-needed security features.

Creators 10gen have at the same time announced a new commercial fork of the open-source software. MongoDB Enterprise adds security and monitoring features, as well as integration with other enterprise software packages.

Lack of security has been a key criticism of NoSQL technologies, and MongoDB 2.4, like last month’s DataStax update, appears designed to take these head-on. The primary additions are role-based access control – meaning user privileges can be more finely-controlled – and the option to require clients to provide signed SSL certificates. Kerberos authentication is also available in the new Enterprise version.

Not all of MongoDB’s changes are aimed at the enterprise, however. MongoDB’s new text search, first previewed in January, has been “one of the all time most requested features in MongoDB” according to 10gen CTO Eliot Horowitz. It’s described as a “basic” implementation of search, sufficient for basic operations but not meant as a full replacement for Solr and Lucene.

More immediately practical changes are hashed-based sharding, said to ensure even distributions of reads and writes when MongoDB is split across large clusters, and a “working set size analyser” able to estimate the amount of RAM MongoDB should expect to use.

There are two new types of storable objects: capped arrays, which can be declared at a fixed size, and 2dsphere geospatial indexes in addition to the existing 2d index option. Under the hood, Firefox’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine – used in MongoDB for MapReduce, $where and the shell – has been replaced with Chrome’s famously zippy V8 engine..

The emergence of MongoDB Enterprise is far from surprising – it’s a model used throughout the industry, including by fellow NoSQL pioneers DataStax. Until now, 10gen have only offered commercial support, although this doesn’t appear to have held them back, judging by their rapid expansion across the globe.

Despite being one of the most popular NoSQL databases (or perhaps because of it), MongoDB has attracted controversy and criticism. It’s seen adoption by Foursquare, Craigslist and the UK Government, and most recently by the city of Chicago to power a city-wide analytic system.
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