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12/13/2012
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Couchbase Broadens Its NoSQL Database

Couchbase challenges 10Gen's MongoDB grip on document-oriented applications, adds JSON support to its key value store database.

Couchbase announced Wednesday the general availability of Couchbase Server 2.0, a significant upgrade aimed at bringing document-handling capabilities to a popular NoSQL database.

Couchbase is an open-source, key value store database used mostly by Internet companies and gaming firms for its rapid scalability, reliability and high performance. Key value stores tend to be simple, with few bells and whistles for developers. Couchbase, the developer and support provider for the database of the same name, says the 2.0 release introduces data-model flexibility for support of JSON (JavaScript object notation), distributed indexing and querying capabilities, and support for MapReduce analytics.

All of these features will step up competition with NoSQL competitor 10Gen and its MongoDB database, the leading document-oriented database and arguably the most widely used NoSQL database overall. The popularity of MongoDB is due in large part to the many indexing, querying and other developer-friendly features 10Gen has built into the database. Couchbase is hoping scalability and performance will help win converts.

[ Want more on NoSQL databases? Read 2 Lessons Learned Managing Big Data In Cloud. ]

"Now people are going to have a choice that offers easier scalability, higher performance and better reliability at scale, but that also is a document database that provides indexing and querying," Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold told InformationWeek.

Support for JSON, together with the indexing, querying, full-text search and MapReduce features, expands the database's applicability into content-rich applications while also making development and management easier in terms of understanding data formatting.

Gaming company Shuffle Entertainment chose Couchbase two years ago for its combination of rapid scalability and performance. These qualities were crucial in building cloud-based gaming and gambling platforms that had to be able to quickly support tens or even hundreds of thousands of new users while also meeting regulatory requirements and fraud-detection demands.

The benefits of the 2.0 release to Shuffle include a new append-only write mode, which will speed confirmation of transactions, while JSON support will make the database accessible to a broader group of developers, according to Louis Castle, chief strategy officer.

"The simplicity of JSON dramatically reduces the complexity of the database," Castle told InformationWeek. "With the database structures previously available, we relied on a handful of people who really understood how the various tables all mapped together. By switching to a document format with JSON, it will be easier for more of our server engineers to interact with and understand the data."

Couchbase has more than 350 commercial support customers including Internet giants such as Orbitz, gaming companies including Zynga, and a growing number of brick-and-mortar companies including Adidas, Honda and Starbucks.

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