MongoDB is probably the most widely used NoSQL database out there, although this is hard to verify since it is open source and free to download like its main competitors Apache Cassandra, Couchbase and Riak.
MongoDB was designed as a general purpose database that's easy to pick up by developers, and each year brings announcements about new features.
These upgrades have recently focused on bolstering MongoDB's security and audit capabilities to make it more enterprise ready, but a number of new features were announced at MongoDB World 2016 intended to boost its credentials as an all-rounder by encroaching on some of its competitors' specialisms such as graph capability and faceted search.
It will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with enterprise technology that the use of public cloud services such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are on the rise. Both vendors reported cloud revenue increases of at least 70 per cent last year.
It is also no surprise that cloud services are of particular interest to organisations that need to process data at scale, given the volumes of data typically processed by companies looking at NoSQL databases. What is a surprise, perhaps, is that it took MongoDB so long to offer database as a service.
"Actually it's a journey we started a few years ago. A company our size [MongoDB employs about 600 people] can only do a few things at once. We're focused on writing a database, which is one of the hardest pieces of software you can write," vice president of strategy Kelly Stirman (pictured) told V3.
Atlas is the latest step in a process that began with a cloud-based monitoring service. This was followed a couple of years later with a fully managed backup service and a little after that came automation for installation, upgrades, configuration changes and other management tasks.
"Atlas is built on those core components, and we've gone beyond them to simplify and optimise and take on the automation of the underlying infrastructure as well as MongoDB," said Stirman.
"With Atlas we've taken the storage, server, compute, network and security - the core building blocks - off the developers' plates as things to worry about. We've taken high availability and disaster recovery off their plates too."
MongoDB is already available 'as a service' from IBM, Rackspace and mLab, but Stirman believes that most people will prefer to buy direct, particularly if the price is right.
"We can differentiate in three key ways. One, we created the database and people will be happy to use the product from the company that writes it; two, we have more features, especially in high availability and disaster recovery; and three, we are aggressively priced, especially at scale," he said.
Atlas is available now on AWS with Azure and Google planned.
Compass is a GUI for MongoDB, a little like the MySQL/MariaDB front end PHPmyadmin. It samples the data intelligently and provides a visual representation of its structure. Users can also build and edit queries.
Compass is the most popular download from the MongoDB site with the exception of the database itself, Stirman said.
The company demonstrated a number of new features that will come to Compass shortly, including CRUD capabilities allowing users to update and delete data from the GUI, and geospatial visualisation displaying addresses and other such data on a map.
Another new development is the detection of sensitive data. "If your data has shapes or patterns that look like Social Security or credit card numbers we will flag it in the GUI," Stirman said.
Indexes and other metadata will also be displayed in Compass. "You can see what type of indexes you have and how much space they are taking up, and you can see how the database ran a particular query so you can check that it's optimal," he explained.
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