MongoDB 5.0 hits GA with a trio of new features for time series data, sharded workloads, Versioned APIs

Will somebody think of the technical debt this creates? cries Percona


5.0 of MongoDB's eponymous database is now generally available, promising features for time series data, rearranging sharded workloads on the fly, and futureproofing APIs.

While the new features are intended to make life easier for developers and sees the document-store NoSQL database continue to progress to becoming a general-purpose database, concerns remain that the business is straying too far from its open-source roots and making it difficult for engineers to see under the hood, observers told The Reg.

MongoDB 5.0 has been given native time series support that promises clustered indexing, and window functions which the company claims will make it easier and faster to build and run IoT and financial analytics applications, for example.

Mat Keep, senior director for products at solutions at MongoDB, told The Register the database can be used for time series data, but "you have to do a lot of schema optimisation" to make it work.

The new release features "time series collections" which "automatically optimise your data model to store your data in a very compact, efficient format," Keep said. That reduces storage consumption, and makes queries faster, he claimed.

The second new feature in 5.0 is something the vendor calls "live resharding". As a distributed database, developers were required to use a shard key to define the approach to splitting data across a cluster.

"But one challenge was once you set your shard key up, you couldn't change it in place," Keep said. "So maybe the applications evolved in some way that need to change things, you'd essentially have to dump your data, and then reload into a new cluster, which means you've got downtime. Now, you could just change the shard key on demand and MongoDB will automatically 'reshard', redistribute your data for you, without there being any application downtime or any application interruption."

Third in the line of new features are Versioned APIs. Keep said the move pre-empted a shift toward a more rapid release cycle for MongoDB, which has seen one major release per year, and would now be released every quarter. The idea of Versioned API is that devs don't have to retest and certify their applications when they adopt a MongoDB upgrade.

From the new release onwards, the database would employ a "stable interface between the application and the database" which Keep said the vendor is "committed to and guarantee that we won't change in subsequent releases."

"Once you're up to 5.0, you could potentially run the database for years and years, upgrading it every quarter, without ever having to go back and retest and recertify your application," he said.

While automated support for time series data might appeal to users in the short term, the Versioned API feature might offer greater benefits in the longer term, said Matthew Aslett, research director for data, AI and analytics with 451 Research.

"It kind of breaks the connection between an application and the version of the database. It gives users a little bit more freedom in terms of their ability to evolve their applications over time and evolve their database over time and separate evolution of the two," he said.

MongoDB is also previewing a serverless iteration of its Atlas DBaaS, which when it arrives on general release, could combine with the commitment on Versioned API.

"Any application developers could potentially be migrated over to serviceless – if the workloads make sense – over time. It kind of breaks the idea that the application is tied to a specific database and it enables a little bit more flexibility and agility. I think customers will benefit from that," Aslett said.

However, not all observers are so keen on the latest developments at MongoDB.

While the features for resharding was "really impressive" and would solve one of the biggest issues for developers using the database, Versioned API created the risk of technical debt in the database, said Akira Kurogane, MongoDB product owner at open-source database consultancy Percona.

"It's very impressive, the amount of effort they've gone into because they have to add so much code into every single function to do that, but it could be increasing the risk of having a bigger incident compatibly instead and making those issues vague and hard to understand. But lots of people were very excited about this," he said.

Kurogane said the approach is akin to wrapping developers in cotton wool. More broadly, Kurogane said MongoDB, which comes under MongoDB Inc's server-side public licence, had strayed too far from its true open-source roots. He pointed towards apparent obfuscation in ticket names, and the migration of the community discussion group from Stack Overflow to MongoDB.com as signs things had changed.

"I hope that they come back to open source, because that's what it came from, that's what people believed in, and that's drives evolution; it's not Wall Street, it's intellectual contribution from a community," Kurogane said.

MongoDB told us it remains committed to the open-source community, saying the MongoDB Community version has been downloaded more than 70 million times. Meanwhile, Stack Overflow remained a “core hub of activity for those wanting to engage with MongoDB”, the company said.

"Tickets in MongoDB remain available in a public Jira so the community can continue to have clear visibility into what the team is working on. The MongoDB Feedback Engine is also open - this provides the community with direct access to MongoDB’s R&D teams to make feature requests and for other users to upvote items," a spokesman said.

The vendor argued Versioned API would make developers much more productive and rid them of any technical debt.

On the results front, Mongo DB reported revenue of $590.4m for its fiscal '21 ended 31 January, up 40 per cent year-on-year, but operating losses widened to $209.3m from $147.9m. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • NASA's InSight doomed as Mars dust coats solar panels
    The little lander that couldn't (any longer)

    The Martian InSight lander will no longer be able to function within months as dust continues to pile up on its solar panels, starving it of energy, NASA reported on Tuesday.

    Launched from Earth in 2018, the six-metre-wide machine's mission was sent to study the Red Planet below its surface. InSight is armed with a range of instruments, including a robotic arm, seismometer, and a soil temperature sensor. Astronomers figured the data would help them understand how the rocky cores of planets in the Solar System formed and evolved over time.

    "InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions," Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said in a statement. "We can apply what we've learned about Mars' inner structure to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems."

    Continue reading
  • The ‘substantial contributions’ Intel has promised to boost RISC-V adoption
    With the benefit of maybe revitalizing the x86 giant’s foundry business

    Analysis Here's something that would have seemed outlandish only a few years ago: to help fuel Intel's future growth, the x86 giant has vowed to do what it can to make the open-source RISC-V ISA worthy of widespread adoption.

    In a presentation, an Intel representative shared some details of how the chipmaker plans to contribute to RISC-V as part of its bet that the instruction set architecture will fuel growth for its revitalized contract chip manufacturing business.

    While Intel invested in RISC-V chip designer SiFive in 2018, the semiconductor titan's intentions with RISC-V evolved last year when it revealed that the contract manufacturing business key to its comeback, Intel Foundry Services, would be willing to make chips compatible with x86, Arm, and RISC-V ISAs. The chipmaker then announced in February it joined RISC-V International, the ISA's governing body, and launched a $1 billion innovation fund that will support chip designers, including those making RISC-V components.

    Continue reading
  • FBI warns of North Korean cyberspies posing as foreign IT workers
    Looking for tech talent? Kim Jong-un's friendly freelancers, at your service

    Pay close attention to that resume before offering that work contract.

    The FBI, in a joint advisory with the US government Departments of State and Treasury, has warned that North Korea's cyberspies are posing as non-North-Korean IT workers to bag Western jobs to advance Kim Jong-un's nefarious pursuits.

    In guidance [PDF] issued this week, the Feds warned that these techies often use fake IDs and other documents to pose as non-North-Korean nationals to gain freelance employment in North America, Europe, and east Asia. Additionally, North Korean IT workers may accept foreign contracts and then outsource those projects to non-North-Korean folks.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading
  • Google assuring open-source code to secure software supply chains
    Java and Python packages are the first on the list

    Google has a plan — and a new product plus a partnership with developer-focused security shop Snyk — that attempts to make it easier for enterprises to secure their open source software dependencies.

    The new service, announced today at the Google Cloud Security Summit, is called Assured Open Source Software. We're told it will initially focus on some Java and Python packages that Google's own developers prioritize in their workflows. 

    These two programming languages have "particularly high-risk profiles," Google Cloud Cloud VP and GM Sunil Potti said in response to The Register's questions. "Remember Log4j?" Yes, quite vividly.

    Continue reading
  • Rocket Lab is taking NASA's CAPSTONE to the Moon
    Mission to lunar orbit is further than any Photon satellite bus has gone before

    Rocket Lab has taken delivery of NASA's CAPSTONE spacecraft at its New Zealand launch pad ahead of a mission to the Moon.

    It's been quite a journey for CAPSTONE [Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment], which was originally supposed to launch from Rocket Lab's US launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia.

    The pad, Launch Complex 2, has been completed for a while now. However, delays in certifying Rocket Lab's Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) pushed the move to Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

    Continue reading
  • Alibaba Cloud adds third datacenter in Germany
    More Euro-presence than any other Chinese company, but still nowhere near Google or AWS

    Alibaba has pulled ahead of its Chinese rivals in Europe with the opening of a third datacenter in Germany.

    The company said the Frankfurt datacenter serves cloud computing products to Europe and "adheres to the highest security standards and the strict compliance regulations set out in the Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalog (C5) in Germany."

    The addition brings Alibaba Cloud to a network of 84 availability zones in 27 regions worldwide. The company's first European cloud center arrived in Frankfurt in 2016.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022