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AWS DocumentDB not MongoDB-compatible, says MongoDB Inc

Posted on October 28, 2022 by

Categories: AWS


INTERVIEW The cloud company refers to Amazon’s DocumentDB database solution as “MongoDB compatible,” but MongoDB CTO Mark Porter told The Register that this is not entirely accurate.

  • Mark Porter, CTO of MongoDB
  • Mark Porter, CTO of MongoDB at AWS Re: invent

The full name of DocumentDB on AWS is “Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility),” which is used for storing, searching, and indexing JSON data.

We met Porter at the Re:  Invention conference in Las Vegas because we were interested in learning more about the distinctions between MongoDB and DocumentDB.

Porter stated, “It is not MongoDB compatible.” “That is false… Our testing shows that it is 34% compatible. Most significantly, it is incompatible with all the features that make MongoDB excellent for our users and clients.

“There is no aggregation, no change streams, and fewer languages; there is only one term for it: a “Frankenbase.” They used our Apache 2.0 drivers, which is OK, and created a PostgreSQL plug-in based on Aurora PostgreSQL. You receive something in the middle rather than the benefits of relational databases like MongoDB.

“If you want to utilise relational, use relational, in our opinion. You should use document if you wish to. We don’t think this product is necessary.”

In July 2020, Porter was appointed CTO of MongoDB. Between May 2013 to October 2018, he served as general manager at AWS, where he was in charge of Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Aurora, and RDS for PostgreSQL.

In January 2019, AWS introduced DocumentDB, the non-relational database veep of the business. AWS has chosen to “create a new purpose-built document database from the ground up,” according to Shawn Bice, with support for MongoDB APIs. The Server Side Public License (SSPL), created by MongoDB because it was “too easy for cloud providers to extract all the value and give nothing back to the community,” was probably a factor in the decision.

The OSI (Open Source Initiative) does not recognise the SSPL as an open-source licence.

When we questioned AWS about the compatibility of MongoDB and the assertion that it was built on PostgreSQL, they sent us to their FAQ, which claims that “‘MongoDB-compatible’ indicates that Amazon DocumentDB interacts with the Apache 2.0 open source MongoDB 3.6 and 4.0 APIs.”

The most recent MongoDB release is 5.0. PostgreSQL is not mentioned in the FAQ.

AWS has been asked by MongoDB to stop referring to DocumentDB as MongoDB-compatible. “The important thing to remember in this situation is that AWS is an awesome partner for us, and while there is a portion of AWS that produces DocumentDB, the vast majority of AWS is a close, intimate partner of ours. We have informed them that it is not MongoDB compatible. With our Emerald sponsorship at the exhibition, I believe you can see that.”

MongoDB had two display stands at Re: invent and took up a restaurant there for the whole week.

Porter informed us that MongoDB is in great shape. “Since the firm was created 16 years ago, our community software has been downloaded 200 million times. In the past year, we’ve had almost 80 million of them. In November, we had almost 10 million “said he.

Porter expressed the hope that “someday they’ll start utilising our commercial goods,” even though they are non-commercial downloads rather than paying clients.

Do the ARM-based Graviton servers support MongoDB? Porter stated, “We do not now operating on Graviton.” “We are collaborating with the AWS team on it.”

What are the difficulties?

“Your code recompiles and operates while you’re working at the application level. That is lovely. We are striving to achieve such integration since running a server product or operating system product requires a close relationship with the chip, memory, cache, and IO subsystem.”

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Creators of open-source software who are compelled by corporations to choose less permissive licences, Porter is also a serverless fanatic, according to the CEO of Percona. This topic came up when talking about Rust’s promises.

He said that switching the MongoDB code from C++ to Rust wouldn’t impact sustainability much. “Serverless is another aspect of sustainability that I consider. When users distribute their own instances, you must distribute headroom since a burst may occur. We introduced serverless last year with the intention of operating at extremely high utilisation in order to be more productive, pay our suppliers less, utilise less hardware, and consume less energy.”

Porter informed us that serverless is on AWS and is now in beta. Will hosting their own instances indeed t to be less expensive for customers?

Porter stated, “We’re in beta right now, but we aim to make it more affordable at scale.