Those serious about cloud migration and total cost of ownership are taking a hard look at MongoDB Atlas. Here are three reasons to try it right away:
- Fully managed; start in minutes
- Great developer experience
- Runs MongoDB Enterprise
Here’s the fastest way to get started using MongoDB Atlas on Azure for free. MongoDB Atlas is a fully-managed database as a service that runs the same MongoDB Enterprise database on all three major public clouds: AWS, GCP and of course Microsoft Azure.
The M0 Sandbox tier, which runs on a shared cluster, is always free (paid tiers with more storage and dedicated clusters are also available).
Since MongoDB Atlas configures, patches, and runs MongoDB for you, the work associated with running the database is greatly reduced if not downright eliminated, with the end result that you get busy building your application and need not spend time configuring the platform for best practices.
How to Get Started with MongoDB Atlas on Azure
Depending where you start, it’s possible to take a few wrong turns while you are looking for a free and easy way to run MongoDB Atlas on Azure.
Wrong turn number 1: From Azure, search for MongoDB
If you start from Microsoft Azure and search for MongoDB, your results will turn up Azure Cosmos DB.
You will also find Cosmos DB if you Create a Resource and select Databases. MongoDB Atlas doesn’t appear.
Azure Cosmos DB and Amazon DocumentDB are both classified as MongoDB as-a-service offerings, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft highlights its offering when you search on Azure.
What exactly is Cosmos DB? Cosmos DB offers an emulation API that is somewhat compatible with MongoDB. But it is not MongoDB Atlas. This page offers a detailed comparison table of MongoDB Atlas, Amazon DocumentDB, and Cosmos DB.
MongoDB Atlas, on the other hand, is a fully managed database as a service that runs MongoDB Enterprise, and, as mentioned, you can get started for free. From a single developer to a large application, MongoDB Atlas offers scale.
Wrong turn number 2: From Azure, search for MongoDB then select MongoDB Atlas on Azure
Note that on the right side of the screenshot above you do see MongoDB Atlas on Azure, with and without a SKU. Either way, selecting MongoDB Atlas on Azure currently leads to a page to purchase an annual subscription to MongoDB Atlas Pro.
Seeing a screenshot that asks you upfront to purchase an annual subscription might deter you from evaluating MongoDB Atlas on Azure, but don’t worry: there is always a free tier for MongoDB Atlas, and we’ll explore that next.
Step 1: Enter your account information
Enter your work email address, your first and last name, and a password that is 8 characters (or longer), and click Get started free.
Step 2: Choose a path
Next you select the type of cluster you want to deploy. But first you might wonder why you are deploying a cluster to begin with.
MongoDB Atlas is always deployed as a cluster of at least three nodes, called a replica set. In this way, if one server goes down, your application keeps running as intended.
Fault-tolerance, failover, business continuity: these are all words that describe this capability. Most of the time you have to set this up explicitly, but MongoDB Atlas is preconfigured for best practices, including sizing the nodes appropriately.
This is one of dozens of features that just do the right thing by default, making it easy to get started with MongoDB Atlas.
You can deploy several types of clusters including:
- Shared clusters
- Dedicated clusters
- Dedicated multi-region clusters
Note that there are advanced configuration options in the lower right corner.
You may want to dive deeper into the docs before making your selection, but if you are interested in getting started immediately, choose Start free. (You can upgrade later.)
Step 3: Choose your cloud provider and region
Choose Azure as your cloud provider, then choose a region near you.
Step 4: Choose a cluster tier.
If you want to start with a free version, select the M0 tier. For an explanation of the other available tiers, see the Cluster Tier page.
Step 5: Set up your cluster
The next screen guides you through setting up connection security for your cluster. This ensures that only authorized computers can connect to MongoDB Atlas and configure it.
You have probably heard of someone being blacklisted, or put on a list that bars them from a certain place.
In this case, we are whitelisting your IP address (or an IP address you specify), saying that the only computer that can connect to your cluster is the one with the IP address specified.
Next you create an admin user for Atlas. Specify a username and password for the admin user and then click Create MongoDB User. (Be sure to remember these credentials; you can’t change them later.)
Step 6: Choose your connection method
Click Choose a connection method to move to the next step.
MongoDB Atlas offers three different connection methods:
- Connecting with the Mongo Shell
- Connecting your application
- Connecting with MongoDB Compass, a GUI tool
If you’re a developer ready to use MongoDB, then choose Connect Your Application.
For this example, I chose Connect with MongoDB Compass, then downloaded and installed Compass.
For the connection string, MongoDB fills in your username for you, then you enter your password in place of
<password>. Click Copy to copy the connection string.
Step 7: Get started building your application
As mentioned earlier, three nodes, your replica set, has been created and is ready to go. Take a moment to revel in what you’ve done so far. And, since MongoDB Atlas is a database-as-a-service, revel in all the things you don’t HAVE to do. Instead, get started building your application.