MongoDB Atlas Celebrates Five Years of Innovation in Data

Today we’re thrilled to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Atlas, MongoDB’s multi-cloud database platform. When we launched Atlas in 2016, we couldn’t have foreseen the impact it would have on both our customers and MongoDB as a company.

MongoDB Atlas has allowed us to become an ever more trusted partner to our customers, playing a key role in their efforts to manage and mitigate risk. One of the insights that spurred the development of Atlas — that it should be easy to move your data into, out of, and between clouds — remains as groundbreaking today as it was five years ago. Thanks to our commitment to innovation, reliability, and security, Atlas’s customers include well-known companies such as Forbes, Toyota Material Handling, Pitney Bowes, and 7-Eleven. Sixty of the Fortune 100 and many of the world’s most innovative disruptors rely on Atlas to help them grow, become more efficient, gain insights from their data, and create superior customer experiences. Atlas has transformed MongoDB into a cloud-first company: Atlas’s revenue is growing at 73 percent a year and currently accounts for more than half of MongoDB’s revenue.

We got a glimpse of the future in 2009 with the first production version of MongoDB. For years, developers struggled to build modern applications on top of decades-old relational databases. Using a JSON-based document model, MongoDB was exceptionally fast, scalable, flexible, and intuitive for developers. It was unusually proficient with both structured and unstructured data. The database’s very design pushed developers and engineers to think differently about how they worked with data.

As our customers investigated new business models enabled by the cloud, we noticed two things about the way they were working with data. First, they were increasingly choosing to use MongoDB in the cloud rather than hosting it on premises. Second, our customers were gravitating toward managed services.

If our customers were going to the cloud — and they were — we needed to be there too.

Our goal was not only to become a cloud-native database, but also to provide developers with a superior platform so they could change the world with data — and employ all the cloud’s potential to do it. As a managed service, Atlas would free developers from the overhead of managing MongoDB themselves. By making data portable across the biggest public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure, it would free data from vendor lock-in. Developers and engineering teams could match the right cloud to the right workload in a few clicks and a few minutes without writing or rewriting code.

Since Atlas shipped in 2016, it has gained more than 25,000 customers. We’ve dramatically improved its functionality, turning it into an even more powerful tool to fulfill our mission of making data stunningly easy to use.

At its 2016 launch, Atlas was available in four AWS regions. The next year, we introduced cross-region replication. Within a single cloud, a customer could now enable cross-region deployments for even better availability guarantees. We launched global clusters in 2018, which made it easier to place data closer to the user and enabled our customers’ applications to run faster all over the world.

MongoDB Atlas is now available in about 80 regions across AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP. Atlas customers can switch clouds as business requirements change to take advantage of pricing changes and make the best use of each cloud’s capabilities. Our broad reach also helps our customers comply with increasingly complex data sovereignty and localization requirements.

We’ve pushed Atlas well beyond the ability to serve larger numbers of regions. In 2019 we acquired Realm, which makes data accessible no matter where your user is or how lousy their connectivity may be. The MongoDB Realm Mobile Database enables simple, powerful persistence on mobile devices so apps can work offline as well as they do online. Two years later, we released MongoDB Realm Sync, making it even easier to keep data in sync across users and devices and connect to the Atlas database on the backend.

We also released MongoDB Atlas Search, which enables developers to create rich, relevance-based search without moving their data into a separate search engine. That was accompanied by MongoDB Atlas Data Lake, enabling developers to use federated queries to analyze data across tiers.

In 2019 we introduced client-side field-level encryption, an industry-leading approach to security. It’s relatively common to encrypt data at rest or in transit, but client-side field-level encryption encrypts data while it’s in use. There’s no additional code for developers to write and no significant impact on performance, and applications can still query data.

Client-side field-level encryption enables our clients to use managed services in the cloud with more confidence, because even those who support the underlying cloud infrastructure cannot decrypt the data. It also makes it easier to comply with increasingly common “right to be forgotten” mandates in contemporary privacy legislation. A user can be forgotten simply by destroying the associated encryption key, making their data unreadable and irrecoverable.

In 2020, our development teams accomplished what had been their mission since the inception of Atlas: multi-cloud clusters. With multi-cloud clusters, MongoDB Atlas goes well beyond its promise — fulfilled years earlier — to work equally well in any of the public clouds. Multi-cloud clusters enable a single cluster to be in multiple clouds simultaneously, making it trivial to move data between them.

We have big plans for the next five years, and we’re already getting started. Soon we’ll preview serverless instances on MongoDB Atlas, making it even easier for development teams to get the capacity they need, when they need it. You choose the region that hosts your data and we’ll do the rest, with an on-demand database endpoint that dynamically adapts to your application traffic.

We’re also making it easier to support a broader range of workloads, offering new ways to future-proof apps, and continuing to improve security and privacy capabilities. We’ll be making major enhancements to Atlas Data Lake, Atlas Search, and Realm Sync, all of which reduce architectural complexity and allow our customers to get more value from their data with a unified application data platform.

And we’ll be doing it all on an accelerated cadence. Starting with MongoDB 5.0, we’ll publish new releases every quarter for those who want to be on the fast track, and then rolling those up into annual Major Releases for those who want to stay on the current cycle.

We expect the next five years to be just as exciting and innovative as the past five — if not more. We can’t wait to see you there.

For more on Atlas's Five Year Anniversary, check out this video