hackNY Founders on 10gen’s Sponsorship, NYC Startup Ecosystem and MongoDB for Rapid Prototyping
July 9, 2013 | Updated: May 22, 2015
Last month, 10gen announced its sponsorship for hackNY, the non-profit aiming to federate the next generation of hackers for New York City. We’ve been longtime supporters of hackNY and were excited to present the founders, Evan Korth and Chris Wiggins, with a donation of $75,000 at MongoNYC.
At the conference, Chris and Evan sat for a brief interview, where they talked about how technology is transforming the key industries in New York City, from media, advertising, publishing, finance and beyond. They explained how hackNY’s model, which organizes student hackathons and summer fellowship programs, give students practical, hands-on experience with programming that they don’t receive at university. Open source technologies like MongoDB are a great fit for hackathons since they enable developers to rapidly prototype, with the knowledge that they can scale their applications.
Libbson is a new shared library written in C for developers wanting to work with the BSON serialization format. Its API will feel natural to C programmers but can also be used as the base of a C extension in higher-level MongoDB drivers. The library contains everything you would expect from a BSON implementation. It has the ability to work with documents in their serialized form, iterating elements within a document, overwriting fields in place, Object Id generation, JSON conversion, data validation, and more. Some lessons were learned along the way that are beneficial for those choosing to implement BSON themselves. Improving small document performance A common use case of BSON is for relatively small documents. This has a profound impact on the memory allocator in userspace, causing what is commonly known as “memory fragmentation". Memory fragmentation can make it more difficult for your allocator to locate a contiguous region of memory. In addition to increasing allocation latency, it increases the memory requirements of your application to overcome that fragmentation. To help with this issue, the bson_t structure contains 120 bytes of inline space that allows BSON documents to be built directly on the stack as opposed to the heap. When the document size grows past 120 bytes it will automatically migrate to a heap allocation. Additionally, bson_t will grow it’s buffers in powers of two. This is standard when working with buffers and arrays as it amortizes the overhead of growing the buffer versus calling realloc() every time data is appended. 120 bytes was chosen to align bson_t to the size of two sequential cachelines on x86_64 (each 64 bytes). This may change based on future research, but not before a stable ABI has been reached. Single allocation for nested documents One strength of BSON is it’s ability to nest objects and arrays. Often times when serializing these nested documents, each sub-document is serialized independently and then appended to the parents buffer. As you might imagine, this takes quite the toll on the allocator. It can generate many small allocations which were only created to have been immediately discarded after appending to the parents buffer. Libbson allows for building sub-documents directly into the parent documents buffer. Doing so helps avoid this costly fragmentation. The topmost document will grow its underlying buffers in powers of two each time the allocation would overflow. Parsing BSON documents from network buffers Another common area for allocator fragmentation is during BSON document parsing. Libbson allows parsing and iteration of BSON documents directly from your incoming network buffer. This means the only allocations created are those needed for your higher level language such as a PyDict if writing a Python extension. Developers writing C extensions for their driver may choose to implement a “generator" style parsing of documents to help keep memory fragmentation low. A technique we’re yet to explore is implementing a hashtable-esque structure backed by BSON, only deserializing the entire buffer after a threshold of keys have been accessed. Generating BSON documents into network buffers Much like parsing BSON documents, generating documents and placing them into your network buffers can be hard on your memory allocator. To help keep this fragmentation down, Libbson provides support for serializing your document to BSON directly within a buffer of your choosing. This is ideal for situations such as writing a sequence of BSON documents into a MongoDB message. Generating Object Ids without Synchronization Applications are often doing ObjectId generation, especially in high insert environments. The uniqueness of generated ObjectIds is critical to avoiding duplicate key errors across multiple nodes. Highly threaded environments create a local contention point slowing the rate of generation. This is because the threads must synchronize on the increment counter of each sequential ObjectId. Failure to do so could cause collisions that would not be detected until after a network round-trip. Most drivers implement the synchronization with an atomic increment or a mutex if atomics are not available. Libbson will use atomic increments and in some cases avoid synchronization altogether if possible. One such case is a non-threaded environment. Another is when running on Linux as both threads and processes are in the same namespace. This allows the use of the thread identifier as the pid within the ObjectId. You can find Libbson at https://github.com/mongodb/libbson and discuss design choices with its author, Christian Hergert, who can be found on twitter as @hergertme .
Congratulations to the 2023 APAC Innovation Award Winners
I’m thrilled to announce the nine winners of the 2023 MongoDB APAC Innovation Awards . The MongoDB Innovation Awards honor projects and people who dream big. They celebrate the groundbreaking use of data to build compelling applications and the creativity of professionals expanding the limits of technology with MongoDB. This year, we have broken the awards down regionally to celebrate organizations in APAC, from startups to industry-leading enterprises, across a wide variety of industries, who are delivering big results. We are delighted to announce the winners below: 2023 MongoDB APAC Innovation Award Winners: Positive Impact Open Government Products Open Government Products (OGP) is an in-house team of engineers, designers, and product managers, who is a part of the Singapore Government, and is responsible for building technologies for the public good. OGP used MongoDB’s developer data platform, MongoDB Atlas to create its digital form builder, FormSG. Used by the Singapore government and public healthcare institutions, FormSG securely collects data from residents and businesses and helps public officers to create digital government forms in minutes. It eliminates the use of paper forms and the manual process of transcribing physical documents, which had raised concerns around data privacy and protection. During the pandemic, FormSG enabled public officers to collect more than 100,000 daily temperature declarations nationwide. Today, FormSG has served more than 120,000 public officers from 155 agencies and it has created more than 500,000 digital forms to help the government collect data on travel and health declarations by visitors to the country, applications for COVID-19 swab tests, and applications for financial assistance. Organization Transformation Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is one of Australia’s largest banks, with around 7,000 employees helping more than 2.2 million customers achieve their financial goals. The bank has been on a multi-year journey of transformation using MongoDB's developer data platform to improve efficiency and deliver a better customer experience as they fulfill their vision to become Australia’s bank of choice. Recently, the cloud team launched Ready-Set-MongoDB (or RSM). This event-driven framework allows developers to streamline the consumption of internal or external APIs, and applies data transformations and storage automatically within a MongoDB collection of their choice. Using MongoDB Atlas Search, the bank also enabled developers to gain insights across its multi-cloud deployments, identifying cost savings, and providing inventory information to account owners and technical stakeholders. Within the first 18 months of launching these programmes, the automation had saved the organization more than 1,100 developers days. It also helped reduce human involvement, removed stale data, and allowed engineers to focus on the things that matter. The development of Ready-Set-MongoDB is ongoing and improving, as new Bendigo multi-cloud challenges arise and new MongoDB products are released. The application is a perfect representation of how Bendigo's Technology Department is using modern technology, rapid development, and innovation-led problem solving to drive organizational transformation. Heroes in Health Redcliffe Lifetech Private Limited Over the last few years, Redcliffe Labs has become India's fastest growing technology-driven diagnostics service provider. Redcliffe Labs is on a mission to serve 500 Million Indians by 2030 with fusion of technology and world- class laboratories. The company already serves thousands of people daily, with more than 73 labs and close to 1500 walk-in centers across 180 cities. Redcliffe Labs has relied on MongoDB Atlas’ flexible document model to power its innovative Smart Health Report, a patient resource that provides a number of indicators and trackers to gauge holistic health. The MongoDB developer data platform's best in class security, compliance, and privacy controls allows Redcliffe's team to confidently handle even the most sensitive patient data. MongoDB Atlas takes care of many of the traditional database management challenges, which means that developers can spend their time building diagnostics for patients, rather than managing databases. Redcliffe Labs is focusing on incorporating next-generation technologies in the diagnostics space with an AI platform that will make Interactive Diagnostics reports, Advanced Health Profiling and more detailed Diagnostics and Health Alerts. Industry Disruptor Cathay Pacific Cathay Pacific , Hong Kong’s home carrier operating in more than 60 destinations worldwide, has been on an impressive journey to become one of the very first airlines to create a truly paperless flight deck. Until recently, a flight from Hong Kong to New York would require a crew to review more than 150 pages of finely printed text and charts before their flight and make ongoing updates throughout the trip. In 2019, Cathay Pacific conducted the first zero paper flight, removing 50kg of manuals, charts, maps, and flight briefing paperwork. They achieved this enormous feat with the help of one seamless and highly customized iPad application: Flight Folder. Built on MongoDB Atlas, Flight Folder is designed to improve the pilot briefing experience. MongoDB helped consolidate dozens of different information sources into one place, and made it possible for flight crews to easily share their experiences with others. It also included a digital refueling feature that helps crews become much more efficient with fueling strategies – saving significant flight time and costs. The use of MongoDB Device Sync enables seamless syncing and no data loss even when the app goes on- and offline mid-flight. Since the Flight Folder launch, Cathay Pacific has completed more than 340,000 flights with full digital integration in the flight deck. In addition to the greatly improved flight crew experience, flight times have been reduced, and digital refueling saves eight minutes of ground time on average. All these efficiencies have helped the company avoid the release of 15,000 tons of carbon. From Batch to Real-Time Adani Digital Labs Adani Digital Labs is the India-based digital innovation arm of the larger Adani group. The lab’s team's mission is to create one single platform – a SuperApp called AdaniOne – to empower a billion stories in India. To address several use cases and the huge scale that will be required by the superapp, the Adani Digital team selected MongoDB Atlas as its the main transactional database that will further enhance the application. A key component of the app is how it can bring together disparate data in order to provide a single view of activity across the application. In the first process, developers had taken out the data in batches and sent it to their database However, this was too slow and unpredictable as far as business requirements are concerned. Also, the consolidated view of customer history, orders, inventory, and supply chain network updates was likely to impact their customer's ability to generate revenue. Therefore, in order to find a better solution, Adani Digital Labs built a more modern architecture in line with MongoDB. Using MongoDB's Change Streams and the data platform's native Kafka connector, they created an event-based architecture that pushes the data out in real-time for analysis. Adani Digital Labs is still in the early phases of the SuperApp's rollout and collaborating with MongoDB as its developer data platform continues to help the firm to grow and deliver insights in real time. Industry 4.0 Dongwha Founded in 1948, the Dongwha Group has evolved from a singular focus on the wood and timber industry into a global leader across a number of sectors including building materials, chemicals and media. As part of its wider digital transformation strategy, Dongwha required smarter factories that would improve and optimize their production efficiency. Dongwha built an innovative Smart Factory Software platform that collects and analyzes data to enhance quality and production management capabilities. Originally, the platform was built with the community version of MongoDB. However, in order to scale and adapt, the team recently migrated to MongoDB Atlas in the cloud. This enabled them to store large volumes in the fastest and most secure way, optimize their solution for time series data, and make it easy to run machine learning across their data. Dongwha completed the migration seamlessly, without any disruption or downtime to their factories, and it has now been launched across five different sites. Over the last year, the application has significantly increased its availability and reliability while performance has improved by as much as 6x . As they look to the future, Dongwha plans to roll out the software to more of its international factories. Digital Native myBillBook India is home to more than 60 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) but only a small portion of those SMBs are taking advantage of digitization and many still operate using pen and paper. In addition, many businesses in India still struggle with fluctuations in internet services, outages, and latency. FloBiz is on a mission to change that with myBillBook , a one-stop solution that helps SMBs create professional invoices, manage stock, collect payments, automate reminders through smart banking, engage with their customers, manage staff attendance and payroll and generate more than 25 business reports for accounting and decision making. The app is also mobile-first, so businesses can access them from their mobile devices and allows users to manage billing and inventory in both online and offline environments. The myBillbook app is powered by MongoDB Atlas, providing the flexible and scalable foundation for the business to do everything from building new features to performing complex analytical queries. In addition, MongoDB Realm, the mobile database within the data platform, supports offline usage and syncing to ensure there is never data loss or functionality for users due to poor internet connection. Because of its success in supporting customers with business critical operations, more than 6.5 million business owners in India are now using myBillbook for their billing, accounting, collection and business growth. Customer Focused KASIKORN Business-Technology Group Established in 1945, Kasikornbank (KBank) is one of the largest and oldest banks in Thailand. Their mission is to strive towards service excellence and empower every customer’s life and business. One of KBank’s subsidiaries, KASIKORN Business-Technology Group (KBTG) , developed a mobile banking application – MAKE by KBank. MongoDB Atlas’ flexibility and ease of development enabled MAKE’s development team to choose the best type of database for its tasks, to automate data tiering with Atlas Online Archive, and to reduce hours spent on operational maintenance. With more time to focus on delivering new innovations to customers, they created unique features like Cloud Pocket which can allocate funds into unlimited customizable pockets for separate usage. They also built Pop Pay, a feature that allows users to easily search for nearby friends and transfer money by clicking their profile picture as well as “Expense Summary" a spending analysis services that helps inform and manage users’ financial habits. As of January 2023, MAKE has acquired more than 1 million users, and increased the number of transactions in MAKE from 900,000 to more than 7.5 million in a span of one year. Massive Scale China Mobile China Mobile provides mobile voice and multimedia services via its nationwide mobile telecommunications network across mainland China and Hong Kong. It is the world's largest mobile network operator by total number of subscribers. The telecommunications leader is using MongoDB to support one of its largest and most critical push services, which sends out billing details to more than 1 billion users every month. Prior to MongoDB, the tech team relied on Oracle, but as the user numbers increased, performance degraded. Despite large investments, it was still taking too long to do basic requests like finalize and deliver bills to users. In 2019, after comprehensive testing, China Mobile migrated to MongoDB. By taking advantage of MongoDB's native sharding, they were able to improve performance by 80% and go from 50 Oracle machines, to just 12 machines for the same workload. The service now handles all current requirements and is set up to scale with future growth. With the support of MongoDB, China Mobile is growing steadily,with more than 168 million monthly users and has one of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the China Mobile group.