Rockets, Rock ’n’ Roll, and Relational Databases — a Look Back at the Year of RDBMS
July 12, 2022
When you reach a certain age, you’d rather not be reminded of how old you are on your birthday. At 52 years old this summer, the relational database management system (RDBMS) has reached that point. But also at 52, it’s close to that other stage in life, the one in which you no longer care what others say about you. We’re talking things like:
“It’s overly rigid and doesn't adapt to change very well.”
“Queries aren’t fast enough to support my application’s needs.”
“They’re prone to contention.”
Happy 52nd birthday, RDBMS
Let’s put things in perspective. The relational database was invented as close to World War I as it was to 2022. In fact, most developers using relational databases today weren’t even born when Edgar F. Codd, an English computer scientist working for IBM, published his paper "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks" in June 1970.
At a time when computer calculations cost hundreds of dollars, Codd’s radical model offered a highly efficient method for expressing queries and extracting information. Once Codd’s relational model was implemented, it allowed unprecedented flexibility to work with data sets in new ways. His innovation laid a foundation for database theory that would dominate the next 40 years, culminating in today’s multi-billion-dollar database market.
As a service to the developer community — and to commemorate 52 years as the workhorse database — we present other events in 1970, the year the relational database was born.
Turning over a new leaf
Relational databases were a huge leap forward when they were first conceived. Although there are many use cases that are still a good fit for relational databases, modern apps consist of smaller, modular microservices, each with unique query patterns, data modeling requirements, and scale requirements.
MongoDB offers online courses for users with RDBMS and SQL knowledge to learn how to map relational databases to MongoDB. You can also set up a cluster and try MongoDB Atlas free.
Migrating Terabytes of IoT Data From a Legacy NoSQL Database to MongoDB Atlas With MongoDB's Custom Migration Tool
In 2020, a large European energy company began an ambitious plan to replace its traditional metering devices — all 7.6 million of them — with smart meters. That would allow the energy company to monitor gas use remotely and allow customers’ bills to more accurately reflect their energy consumption. At the same time, the company began installing smart components along their production network to monitor operations in real-time, manage alarms, use predictive maintenance tools, and find leaks using advanced technologies. The energy company knew this shift would result in a massive amount of data coming into their systems, and they thought they were ready for it. They understood the complexities of managing and leveraging data from the Internet of Things (IoT), such as the high velocity at which data must be ingested and the need for time-based data aggregations. They rolled out an IoT platform with big data and analytics tools to help them make progress toward their objectives of high-quality, efficient, and safe service. This article examines how the company migrated its system to MongoDB Atlas in order to handle the massive influx of data. Managing data The energy company was managing 3 TB of data on its NoSQL database, with the remainder housed and managed on a relational database. However, it started facing challenges, including a lack of scalability, increasing costs, and poor performance. The costs to maintain the pre-production and production environments were unsustainable, and the situation wasn’t going to get better: By 2023, the energy company planned to increase the number of IoT devices and sensors by a factor of five. They needed a viable solution for the long term. Migrating to MongoDB Atlas The energy company decided to migrate to MongoDB Atlas for several reasons. Atlas’s online archive, combined with the ability to create time-series sharded collections, makes Atlas an ideal fit for IoT data, as does the flexibility of the document data model. Additionally, an API that was compatible with the existing database would minimize the impact on application code and make it easier to migrate applications. The customer chose PeerIslands to be its technical partner and help them with the migration. PeerIslands, a MongoDB partner, is an enterprise-class digital transformation company with an expert, multilingual team with significant experience working across multiple technologies and cloud platforms. PeerIslands has developed solutions for both homogenous and heterogenous workload migrations. Among these solutions is a MongoDB migration tool that helps perform one-time migrations and change data capture while minimizing downtime. The tool is fully GUI-based, and tasks such as infrastructure provisioning, dump and restore, change stream listeners, and processors have all been automated. For change capture, the tool uses the native MongoDB change stream APIs. Migration challenges In working with the energy company to perform the migration, the PeerIslands team faced two particular challenges: The large volume of data. Initial snap-shotting of the data would take about a day. The application had significant write loads. On average, it was writing about 12,000 messages per second. However, the load was unevenly distributed, with spikes when devices would “wake up” and report their status. These two factors quickly generated close to 20 million change events that had to be synced to MongoDB. Meanwhile, new data was constantly being written into the source. Migration tool PeerIslands’ migration tool uses mongodump and mongorestore for one-time data migration and MongoDB Kafka Connector for real-time data synchronization. By using Apache Kafka, the migration tool was able to handle the large amount of change stream data and successfully manage the migration. To address the complexity of the migration, PeerIslands also enhanced the migration tool with additional capabilities: Parallelize the Kafka change stream processing using partitions. The Kafka partitioning strategy was in sync with the target Atlas sharding strategy. Use ReplaceOneBusinessKeyStrategy as the write model for Kafka MongoDB sink connector to write into sharded Atlas collections. By using its in-house tooling, PeerIslands was able to successfully complete the migration with near zero downtime. Improved performance With the migration complete, the customer has already begun to realize the benefits of MongoDB Atlas for their massive amounts of IoT data. The user interface has become extremely responsive, even in front of more expensive queries. Because of the improved performance of the database, the customer is now able to pursue improvements and efficiencies in other areas. With better performance, the company expects consumption of the data to rise and their schema design to evolve. They’re looking to leverage the time-series benefits of MongoDB both to simplify their schema design and deliver richer IoT functionality. They’re also better equipped to rapidly respond to and fulfill business needs, because the database is no longer a limitation. Importantly, costs have decreased for the production environment, and even more dramatic cost reductions have been seen for the pre-production environment. Learn more about the migration tool and MongoDB’s time series capabilities . Interested in your own data migration? Contact us .
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.