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Enabling data compression in MongoDB 3.0

MongoDB 3.0 with the wired tiger storage engine enables you to transparently compress the data stored in your database. This is a fairly exciting and useful feature that can be used to reduce the disk space usage of your fast growing data. By default wired tiger uses the ‘Snappy’ block compression engine for all the collections. You can turn off compression by default using the following options in the mongodb server config file .

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MongoDB SSL with self signed certificates in Node.js

MongoDirector supports SSL configuration for MongoDB. Configuring and setting it up is easy  and our earlier post talks all about it. It also discusses the need and pros and cons of MongoDB with TLS/SSL.

MongoDirector currently uses self signed certificates for SSL when creating nodes for a new cluster. Since Node.js applications over the MongoDB Node.js driver or Mongoose are very popular choices on our platform, in this post we discuss a step by step plan to workaround most common issues faced in using MongoDB SSL with self signed certificates in Node.js. This discussion pertains to the MongoDB Node.js version 2.0 and Mongoose version 4.0.3.

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How to benchmark MongoDB with YCSB?

While talking about system performance characteristics, most DBaaS providers limit themselves to providing information about the hardware that their systems are provisioned on. Indeed, it is hard to talk accurately about the actual throughput/latency characteristics of a cloud based deployment given the number of variables in such a system. Virtualized environments, unpredictable workloads, network latencies, different geographies are only some of the considerations.

However it is a good idea to have a fair understanding of the actual performance of your Mongodb deployment: so that you can provision accurately based on your application needs; so that you can actually compare various DBaaS providers to ensure that you are getting the most “bang for the buck”.

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The fastest mongodb on Azure!

Everybody claims to be fast – but our fast is faster!  Over the past few weeks our team has been busy benchmarking our systems on Azure and the results have been fantastic.

Earlier this year before we ported our existing infrastructure from AWS to Azure, we spent a lot of time understanding the structure of the Azure cloud and optimizing for best performance. The reality is that Azure is fairly different from AWS and the performance strategy that works on one cloud probably will not work on the other. Our development team did a lot of custom work over the disk architecture that we use in our clusters – the goal was to provide the best disk performance on Azure.

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How do you test your MongoDB application upgrades?

You have chosen MongoDB as your application database. You probably have a lot of production data in your database already. Now you need to make a major change to  your application. How do you go about testing to make sure the new version of your application behaves well with your production data?

Production data is always infinitely more varied that your test data and exercises more edge cases consequently leading to more bugs. It is not recommend to export production data into your test environment due to policy, privacy & security issues. On the other hand it is fairly difficult and expensive to identify and test bugs in production. So how do you go about ensuring that the new version of your application works well with production data?  Here is what we recommend at MongoDirector

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MongoDB on Azure: How to choose the right instance type?

MongoDB on AWSAzure is now a popular platform to deploy and manage MongoDB servers. Once you have chosen Azure as the platform for MongoDB one of the first decisions that you need to make is to select the instance type that you need to deploy. In this matter Azure fortunately is much simpler than AWS . Azure basically offers three types of instances

1. A  series
A series offers general purpose instances that fit most workloads. They are available in various sizes ranging from 0.75 GB to 56 GB. Inside A series you are offered two options – ‘Basic’ and ‘Standard’.  The ‘Basic’ version costs less but does not offer load balancing, auto-scaling etc. From a database perspective the most important difference is that with ‘Basic’ instances your  azures disks (page blobs) are limited to to 300 IOPS/disk whereas with ‘Standard’ instances you can go upto 500 IOPS/disk. This can make a big difference especially with larger instances when you can RAID the disks. Our recommendation is to use ‘Standard’ machines whenever possible to leverage the enhanced I/O. The number of disks that can be attached to a VM depends on the size of the VM. You can go upto 16 disks for  A7 machine. More details can be found here – Virtual machine sizes for Azure.

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Three simple steps to improve the security of your MongoDB installation

iStock_000000413656SmallMongoDB Security has been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. All the talk has been about the 40,000 or so databases that were found exposed by a group of students based in Germany. Some of the databases even contained production data. It’s egregious on several levels – not only do you have production data on a unauthenticated database but it is also left open to the internet. The only surprising thing is that it took this long to get exposed. If you don’t want your mongodb servers to be on the news here are three simple steps to improve the security of your mongodb installation

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High performance MongoDB clusters on Amazon EC2

Performance is an important consideration when deploying MongoDB on the EC2 platform. From a hardware perspective MongoDB performance on EC2 is gated primarily by two factors – RAM and disk speed. Typically ( there are always exceptions) CPU should not be an issue.  Memory is no longer a issue – there are plenty of size options (R3, I2, C3/C4) offering a large amount of RAM. For more details on how to choose the right instance type check my other blog post – “How to choose the right EC2 Instance type“.

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Fast paging with MongoDB

Paging through your data is one of the most common operations with MongoDB. A typical scenario is the need to display your results in chunks in your UI. If you are batch processing your data it is also important to get your paging strategy correct so that your data processing can scale.

Lets walk through an example to see the different ways of paging through data in MongoDB. In this example we have a CRM database of user data that we need to page through and display 10 users at a time. So in effect our page size is 10. Here is the structure of our user document

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Enabling two factor authentication for

Enabling Two factor authentication is an important upgrade to the security of your MongoDirector account. If your password is compromised an attacker will still be unable to gain access to your account if he/she does not have access to the authentication device initialized with the two factor secret of your account.

You can enable two factor authentication in three easy steps

1. Log in to your account at and navigate to the Settings tab -> Select the ‘Two factor’ auth tab and check “Enable Two factor auth”.

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