MongoDB Performance Tuning and Monitoring with MMS
In a recent webinar, MongoDB Technical Services Engineer Daniel Coupal presented on how you can use MMS for performance tuning and monitoring. He explains which metrics to examine when optimizing your MongoDB deployment. Daniel and the MongoDB Technical Services team work with thousands of MongoDB customers and community users each year, and drawing from those experiences Daniel also provided several real-world examples of diagnosing and debugging performance issues with the MongoDB Management Service. You can watch the full video below.
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The Leaf in the Wild: Wearable Sensors Connecting “Man’s Best Friend” - Tractive & MongoDB
Leaf in the Wild posts highlight real world MongoDB deployments. Read other stories about how companies are using MongoDB for their mission-critical projects. I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Lettner, CTO of Hardware & Services and Bernhard Wolkerstorfer, Head of Web & Services at Tractive, to discuss how they use MongoDB at their Internet of Things startup. Tell us a little bit about your company. What are you trying to accomplish? How do you see yourself growing in the next few years? Tractive is a cool 18-month old startup designed for pet owners. We extend the concept of the “quantified self” to the quantified pet, enabling owners to monitor their beloved companions through wearable sensor technology. Our first service was the GPS Pet Tracking device that attaches to the pet’s collar and enables the owner to receive real time location-based tracking on their iOS or Android device. Users can also define a safe zone that acts as a virtual fence - whenever the pet leaves the safe zone, a notification is sent to the owner’s device. We have extended our products to include Tractive Motion that tracks a pet’s activity. Owners can compare how much exercise their pet is getting to other owners with the same breed. The Peterest image gallery enables owners to share images and activity with other members of their social network, and Pet Manager can be used to record veterinary appointments, allergies, vaccination schedules and more. Tractive is currently available in over 70 countries, mainly across Europe and the Middle East, and is now rapidly extending worldwide with our first customers recently added in the USA, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Please describe your application using MongoDB. MongoDB is our primary database - we use it to store all of the data we rely on to deliver our services - from sensor and geospatial data, to activity data, to user data and social sharing. Image data is stored in AWS S3 with its metadata managed by MongoDB. We also use MongoDB to log all data from our infrastructure, ensuring our service is always available. Why did you select MongoDB for Tractive? Did you consider other alternatives? We initially came from a background of using relational databases, but we believed that these were not appropriate tools for managing the diversity of sensor data we would rely on for the Tractive services. In addition, we knew we would be rapidly evolving the functionality of our apps and were concerned the rigidity of the relational data model would constrain our creativity and time to market. We knew the way forward was a non-relational database, and many would give us the flexible data model our app needed. Beyond a dynamic schema, we had additional criteria that guided our ultimate decision How easily would the database allow us to store and query geospatial data? How well could the database handle time-series and event-based data? What sort of query flexibility did the database offer to support analytics against the data? How easily and quickly could the database scale as our customer base and data volumes grew? Was the database open source? There are a multitude of key-value, wide column and document databases we could have chosen. There were many that could ingest time-series data quickly, but they lacked the ability to run rich queries against the data in place – instead forcing us to replicate the data to external systems. Only MongoDB met all of key criteria – easy to develop against, simple to run in operations and without throwing away the type of query functionality we had come to expect from relational databases. Please describe your MongoDB deployment We run our MongoDB cluster across three shards with each shard configured as a three-node replica set. This architecture gives us the resilience we need to deliver always-on availability, and enables us to rapidly add shards as our service continues to grow. The cluster is deployed in a colocation facility with an external service provider. Our backend is primarily based on Ruby and currently running MongoDB 2.2 in production. We are planning a move to MongoDB 2.6 to take advantage of some specific new capabilities: Aggregation framework improvements such as cursors Geospatial enhancements Index intersection with the ability to use more than one index to resolve a query Can you share best practices you learned while scaling MongoDB? For best results, shard before you have to. Get a thorough understanding of your data structures and query patterns. This will help you select a shard key that best suits your applications. If you follow these simple rules, sharding in MongoDB is really simple. It’s automatic and transparent to the developer. Scaling is of course much more than simply throwing hardware at the database cluster. So we got a lot of benefits from MongoDB tooling in optimizing our queries. During development, we used the MongoDB explain operator to ensure good index coverage. We also use the MongoDB Database Profiler to log all slow queries for further analysis and optimization. For our analytics queries, we initially used MongoDB’s inbuilt MapReduce, but have since moved to the aggregation framework , which is faster and simpler. Are you using any tools to monitor, manage and backup your MongoDB deployment? We rely heavily on the MongoDB Management Service application for proactive monitoring of our database cluster. Through MMS alerting we identified a potential issue with replication and were able to rectify it before it caused an outage. For backups, we currently use mongodump, but are evaluating MMS Backup as this has the potential to extend our disaster recovery capabilities. For overall performance monitoring of our application stack, we use New Relic which is implemented in the drivers we use. What business advantage is MongoDB delivering? As a startup, time to market is key. We could not have got to market as quickly with other databases. MongoDB’s flexible document model and dynamic schema have been essential not only in launching the original service, but now as we evolve our products. Requirements change quickly and we are always adding new features. MongoDB enables us to do that. As we add more products and features, we add new customers. We need the ability to scale our infrastructure fast. Again MongoDB provides that scalability and operational simplicity we need to focus on the business, rather than the database. What advice would you give someone who is considering using MongoDB for their next project? We came from a relational database background and were surprised how easy it was for us in development and ops to transfer that knowledge to MongoDB. That helps us get up and running quickly. MongoDB schema design is new concept and requires a change in thinking - from a normalized model that packs data into rows and columns across multiple tables to a document model that allows embedding of related data into a single object. Developers need to move on from focusing on how data is stored, to how it is queried by the application. You need to identify your queries and build your schema from there. The good news is that there is a wealth of documentation online. The MongoDB blog is a great resource to learn best practices from the community. An example is the awesome post on MongoDB schema design for time series data - this will help anyone managing this type of data in IoT applications. The MongoDB University provides free self-paced training for developers (in multiple languages), administrators and operations staff. There are also some really useful tutorials covering every step of MongoDB replication and sharding . Our recommendation would be to perform due diligence during your research - ensure you understand your requirements, then download the software and get started in your evaluation. Wrapping Up Mike and Bernhard - I’d like to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us!
Dissecting Open Banking with MongoDB: Technical Challenges and Solutions
Thank you to Ainhoa Múgica for her contributions to this post. Unleashing a disruptive wave in the banking industry, open banking (or open finance), as the term indicates, has compelled financial institutions (banks, insurers, fintechs, corporates, and even government bodies) to embrace a new era of transparency, collaboration, and innovation. This paradigm shift requires banks to openly share customer data with third-party providers (TPPs), driving enhanced customer experiences and fostering the development of innovative fintech solutions by combining ‘best-of-breed’ products and services. As of 2020, 24.7 million individuals worldwide used open banking services, a number that is forecast to reach 132.2 million by 2024. This rising trend fuels competition, spurs innovation, and fosters partnerships between traditional banks and agile fintech companies. In this transformative landscape, MongoDB, a leading developer data platform, plays a vital role in supporting open banking by providing a secure, scalable, and flexible infrastructure for managing and protecting shared customer data. By harnessing the power of MongoDB's technology, financial institutions can lower costs, improve customer experiences, and mitigate the potential risks associated with the widespread sharing of customer data through strict regulatory compliance. Figure 1: An Example Open Banking Architecture The essence of open banking/finance is about leveraging common data exchange protocols to share financial data and services with 3rd parties. In this blog, we will dive into the technical challenges and solutions of open banking from a data and data services perspective and explore how MongoDB empowers financial institutions to overcome these obstacles and unlock the full potential of this open ecosystem. Dynamic environments and standards As open banking standards continue to evolve, financial institutions must remain adaptable to meet changing regulations and industry demands. Traditional relational databases often struggle to keep pace with the dynamic requirements of open banking due to their rigid schemas that are difficult to change and manage over time. In countries without standardized open banking frameworks, banks and third-party providers face the challenge of developing multiple versions of APIs to integrate with different institutions, creating complexity and hindering interoperability. Fortunately, open banking standards or guidelines (eg. Europe, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, etc) have generally required or recommended that the open APIs be RESTful and support JSON data format, which creates a basis for common data exchange. MongoDB addresses these challenges by offering a flexible developer data platform that natively supports JSON data format, simplifies data modeling, and enables flexible schema changes for developers. With features like the MongoDB Data API and GraphQL API , developers can reduce development and maintenance efforts by easily exposing data in a low-code manner. The Stable API feature ensures compatibility during database upgrades, preventing code breaks and providing a seamless transition. Additionally, MongoDB provides productivity-boosting features like full-text search , data visualization , data federation , mobile database synchronization , and other app services enabling developers to accelerate time-to-market. With MongoDB's capabilities, financial institutions and third-party providers can navigate the changing open banking landscape more effectively, foster collaboration, and deliver innovative solutions to customers. An example of a client who leverages MongoDB’s native JSON data management and flexibility is Natwest. Natwest is a major retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom based in London, England. The bank has moved from zero to 900 million API calls per month within years, as open banking uptake grows and is expected to grow 10 times in coming years. At a MongoDB event on 15 Nov 2022, Jonathan Haggarty, Natwest’s Head of “Bank of APIs” Technology – an API ecosystem that brings the retail bank’s services to partners – shared in his presentation titled Driving Customer Value using API Data that Natwest’s growing API ecosystem lets it “push a bunch of JSON data into MongoDB [which makes it] “easy to go from simple to quite complex information" and also makes it easier to obfuscate user details through data masking for customer privacy. Natwest is enabled to surface customer data insights for partners via its API ecosystem, for example “where customers are on the e-commerce spectrum”, the “best time [for retailers] to push discounts” as well insights on “most valuable customers” – with data being used for problem-solving; analytics and insight; and reporting. Performance In the dynamic landscape of open banking, meeting the unpredictable demands for performance, scalability, and availability is crucial. The efficiency of applications and the overall customer experience heavily rely on the responsiveness of APIs. However, building an open banking platform becomes intricate when accommodating third-party providers with undisclosed business and technical requirements. Without careful management, this can lead to unforeseen performance issues and increased costs. Open banking demands high performance of the APIs under all kinds of workload volumes. OBIE recommends an average TTLB (time to last byte) of 750 ms per endpoint response for all payment invitations (except file payments) and account information APIs. Compliance with regulatory service level agreements (SLAs) in certain jurisdictions further adds to the complexity. Legacy architectures and databases often struggle to meet these demanding criteria, necessitating extensive changes to ensure scalability and optimal performance. That's where MongoDB comes into play. MongoDB is purpose-built to deliver exceptional performance with its WiredTiger storage engine and its compression capabilities. Additionally, MongoDB Atlas improves the performance following its intelligent index and schema suggestions, automatic data tiering, and workload isolation for analytics. One prime illustration of its capabilities is demonstrated by Temenos, a renowned financial services application provider, achieving remarkable transaction volume processing performance and efficiency by leveraging MongoDB Atlas. They recently ran a benchmark with MongoDB Atlas and Microsoft Azure and successfully processed an astounding 200 million embedded finance loans and 100 million retail accounts at a record-breaking 150,000 transactions per second . This showcases the power and scalability of MongoDB with unparalleled performance to empower financial institutions to effectively tackle the challenges posed by open banking. MongoDB ensures outstanding performance, scalability, and availability to meet the ever-evolving demands of the industry. Scalability Building a platform to serve TPPs, who may not disclose their business usages and technical/performance requirements, can introduce unpredictable performance and cost issues if not managed carefully. For instance, a bank in Singapore faced an issue where their Open APIs experienced peak loads and crashes every Wednesday. After investigation, they discovered that one of the TPPs ran a promotional campaign every Wednesday, resulting in a surge of API calls that overwhelmed the bank's infrastructure. A scalable solution that can perform under unpredictable workloads is critical, besides meeting the performance requirements of a certain known volume of transactions. MongoDB's flexible architecture and scalability features address these concerns effectively. With its distributed document-based data model, MongoDB allows for seamless scaling both vertically and horizontally. By leveraging sharding , data can be distributed across multiple nodes, ensuring efficient resource utilization and enabling the system to handle high transaction volumes without compromising performance. MongoDB's auto-sharding capability enables dynamic scaling as the workload grows, providing financial institutions with the flexibility to adapt to changing demands and ensuring a smooth and scalable open banking infrastructure. Availability In the realm of open banking, availability becomes a critical challenge. With increased reliance on banking services by third-party providers (TPPs), ensuring consistent availability becomes more complex. Previously, banks could bring down certain services during off-peak hours for maintenance. However, with TPPs offering 24x7 experiences, any downtime is unacceptable. This places greater pressure on banks to maintain constant availability for Open API services, even during planned maintenance windows or unforeseen events. MongoDB Atlas, the fully managed global cloud database service, addresses these availability challenges effectively. With its multi-node cluster and multi-cloud DBaaS capabilities, MongoDB Atlas ensures high availability and fault tolerance. It offers the flexibility to run on multiple leading cloud providers, allowing banks to minimize concentration risk and achieve higher availability through a distributed cluster across different cloud platforms. The robust replication and failover mechanisms provided by MongoDB Atlas guarantee uninterrupted service and enable financial institutions to provide reliable and always-available open banking APIs to their customers and TPPs. Security and privacy Data security and consent management are paramount concerns for banks participating in open banking. The exposure of authentication and authorization mechanisms to third-party providers raises security concerns and introduces technical complexities regarding data protection. Banks require fine-grained access control and encryption mechanisms to safeguard shared data, including managing data-sharing consent at a granular level. Furthermore, banks must navigate the landscape of data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which impose strict requirements distinct from traditional banking regulations. MongoDB offers a range of solutions to address these security and privacy challenges effectively. Queryable Encryption provides a mechanism for managing encrypted data within MongoDB, ensuring sensitive information remains secure even when shared with third-party providers. MongoDB's comprehensive encryption features cover data-at-rest and data-in-transit, protecting data throughout its lifecycle. MongoDB's flexible schema allows financial institutions to capture diverse data requirements for managing data sharing consent and unify user consent from different countries into a single data store, simplifying compliance with complex data privacy laws. Additionally, MongoDB's geo-sharding capabilities enable compliance with data residency laws by ensuring relevant data and consent information remain in the closest cloud data center while providing optimal response times for accessing data. To enhance data privacy further, MongoDB offers field-level encryption techniques, enabling symmetric encryption at the field level to protect sensitive data (e.g., personally identifiable information) even when shared with TPPs. The random encryption of fields adds an additional layer of security and enables query operations on the encrypted data. MongoDB's Queryable Encryption technique further strengthens security and defends against cryptanalysis, ensuring that customer data remains protected and confidential within the open banking ecosystem. Activity monitoring With numerous APIs offered by banks in the open banking ecosystem, activity monitoring and troubleshooting become critical aspects of maintaining a robust and secure infrastructure. MongoDB simplifies activity monitoring through its monitoring tools and auditing capabilities. Administrators and users can track system activity at a granular level, monitoring database system and application events. MongoDB Atlas has Administration APIs , which one can use to programmatically manage the Atlas service. For example, one can use the Atlas Administration API to create database deployments, add users to those deployments, monitor those deployments, and more. These APIs can help with the automation of CI/CD pipelines as well as monitoring the activities on the data platform enabling developers and administrators to be freed of this mundane effort and focus on generating more business value. Performance monitoring tools, including the performance advisor, help gauge and optimize system performance, ensuring that APIs deliver exceptional user experiences. Figure 2: Activity Monitoring on MongoDB Atlas MongoDB Atlas Charts , an integrated feature of MongoDB Atlas, offers analytics and visualization capabilities. Financial institutions can create business intelligence dashboards using MongoDB Atlas Charts. This eliminates the need for expensive licensing associated with traditional business intelligence tools, making it cost-effective as more TPPs utilize the APIs. With MongoDB Atlas Charts, financial institutions can offer comprehensive business telemetry data to TPPs, such as the number of insurance quotations, policy transactions, API call volumes, and performance metrics. These insights empower financial institutions to make data-driven decisions, improve operational efficiency, and optimize the customer experience in the open banking ecosystem. Figure 3: Atlas Charts Sample Dashboard Real-Timeliness Open banking introduces new challenges for financial institutions as they strive to serve and scale amidst unpredictable workloads from TPPs. While static content poses fewer difficulties, APIs requiring real-time updates or continuous streaming, such as dynamic account balances or ESG-adjusted credit scores, demand capabilities for near-real-time data delivery. To enable applications to immediately react to real-time changes or changes as they occur, organizations can leverage MongoDB Change Streams that are based on its aggregation framework to react to data changes in a single collection, a database, or even an entire deployment. This capability further enhances MongoDB’s real-time data and event processing and analytics capabilities. MongoDB offers multiple mechanisms to support data streaming, including a Kafka connector for event-driven architecture and a Spark connector for streaming with Spark. These solutions empower financial institutions to meet the real-time data needs of their open banking partners effectively, enabling seamless integration and real-time data delivery for enhanced customer experiences. Conclusion MongoDB's technical capabilities position it as a key enabler for financial institutions embarking on their open banking journey. From managing dynamic environments and accommodating unpredictable workloads to ensuring scalability, availability, security, and privacy, MongoDB provides a comprehensive set of tools and features to address the challenges of open banking effectively. With MongoDB as the underlying infrastructure, financial institutions can navigate the ever-evolving open banking landscape with confidence, delivering innovative solutions, and driving the future of banking. Embracing MongoDB empowers financial institutions to unlock the full potential of open banking and provide exceptional customer experiences in this era of collaboration and digital transformation. If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage MongoDB for your open banking infrastructure, take a look at the below resources: Open banking panel discussion: future-proof your bank in a world of changing data and API standards with MongoDB, Celent, Icon Solutions, and AWS How a data mesh facilitates open banking Financial services hub