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Migrate Ranges in a Sharded Cluster

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  • Change Streams and Orphan Documents

In most circumstances, you should let the automatic balancer migrate ranges between shards. However, you may want to migrate ranges manually in a few cases:

  • When pre-splitting an empty collection, migrate ranges manually to distribute them evenly across the shards. Use pre-splitting in limited situations to support bulk data ingestion.

  • If the balancer in an active cluster cannot distribute ranges within the balancing window, then you will have to migrate ranges manually.

To manually migrate ranges, use the moveChunk or moveRange command.

For more information on how the automatic balancer moves ranges between shards, see Balancer Internals and Range Migration.

For more information on tuning the migration, see chunkMigrationConcurrency.


Migrate a single range

The following example assumes that the field username is the shard key for a collection named users in the myapp database, and that the value smith exists within the range to migrate. Migrate the range using the following command in mongosh.

db.adminCommand( { moveChunk : "myapp.users",
find : {username : "smith"},
to : "" } )

This command moves the range that includes the shard key value "smith" to the shard named The command will block until the migration is complete.


To return a list of shards, use the listShards command.


Evenly migrate ranges

To evenly migrate ranges for the myapp.users collection, put each prefix range on the next shard from the other and run the following commands in the mongo shell:

var shServer = [ "", "", "", "", "" ];
for ( var x=97; x<97+26; x++ ){
for( var y=97; y<97+26; y+=6 ) {
var prefix = String.fromCharCode(x) + String.fromCharCode(y);
db.adminCommand({moveChunk : "myapp.users", find : {email : prefix}, to : shServer[(y-97)/6]})

See Create Ranges in a Sharded Cluster for an introduction to pre-splitting.

  • Use the moveChunk command with the _secondaryThrottle and writeConcern fields to determine when the balancer proceeds with the next document in the migrating range.

  • Use the moveRange command with the secondaryThrottle and writeConcern fields to determine when the balancer proceeds with the next document in the migrating range.

See moveChunk and moveRange for details.

Starting in MongoDB 5.3, during range migration, change stream events are not generated for updates to orphaned documents.


Manage Sharded Cluster Balancer


The AutoMerger