Delta Synchronization – syncing only the parts of the document that have been changed – is an established practice elsewhere in IT, but is a first for No SQL.
Couchbase has announced Couchbase Mobile 2.5, the latest version of their embedded NoSQL database. The new version adds advanced sync capabilities that will cut bandwidth costs. It also introduces Machine Learning queries into an embedded DB. At this stage, the ML capability is a developer preview which will be fully built out in the next release.
Couchbase – the name comes from a merger between two open source companies, CouchDB and Membase – is a NoSQL data platform, with Couchbase Server and Couchbase Mobile components.
“NoSQL databases are a commodity concept at this point in time, but we are solidifying the platform as a leader in the space,” said Tyler Mitchell, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Couchbase. “Our main approach is differentiation in performance and scalability. We have done a bunch of commissioned benchmarks against competitors to demonstrate this. Customers use us for massively interactive applications that need to scale. Many of our success stories are customers who start with a few nodes and scale up to 10-20 or 100 nodes because we are so scalable.”
While Couchbase’s customers are somewhat underrepresented in retail, they have travel customers like Amadeus and hospitality ones like Marriott.
“Some are big enterprises who have used a mainframe for 40 years but who need higher levels of interactivity with customers today or a caching layer to seed up applications,” Mitchell said. “That’s one journey. Some come in for the performance layer.”
Partner are an important component of Couchbase’s business and includes both Technology Integration partners like Tableau, and Solution partners, which include both resellers and integrators like Infosys and Accenture.
The major full feature enhancement in Couchbase Mobile 2.5 is Delta Synchronization. It syncs only parts of the document that have changed, resulting in significant savings in bandwidth consumption when synchronizing data between the mobile device and enterprise servers.
“In NoSQL, synchronization of whole documents has always been a challenge,” Mitchell said. “The issue has always been – has the document been changed – yes or no. If Yes, you give a new document. It has been hard to track at the atomic level. You might know a component had changed but not which component. Now, with Delta Synchronization, you only send the bits back and forth that actually need to be updated.”
Delta Synchronization also applies to peer-to-peer sync between Couchbase mobile clients and servers.
“Peer to peer synchronization is a really cool capability,” Mitchell said. “With it, users can now use their own Bluetooth to keep synched if they go offline – like on a plane.”
Another major enhancement in Couchbase Mobile 2.5 is the introduction of machine learning in Predictive Queries for applications. The new Predictive Query API lets mobile apps use pre-trained ML models to run predictive queries locally on mobile devices against stored data.
“There have been rudimentary SQL-like queries in Couchbase Mobile before,” Mitchell said. “However, the ability to actually do machine learning on the embedded DB is a new concept, which allows you to create a model and apply it to applications. This runs right on the device.” The predictions in the database can then be correlated with predictions made in real-time from mobile cameras and other local context sources.
“At one level, this makes the developer experience easier,” Mitchell said. “Being able to do Couchbase queries with those models running in the background – as opposed to pulling data out and sending it to a cloud service – allows for more of an integrated approach. Something like facial recognition can be done through Couchbase Mobile, rather than use a third party system that requires custom applications. “
At this stage, it is a developer preview.
“We will have more buzz on that in our next release after its developer preview run,” Mitchell said. “We went back and forth about whether to highlight it in this news.”
New supportability features have also been added to Couchbase Mobile 2.5.
“Eventing – event side scripting – is new on the mobile device,” Mitchell said. “When specific documents are replicated, it can trigger events. We continue to make improvements to replication capabilities in general.”
Continuous custom and file based logging support has also been added. Troubleshooting issues in mobile apps deployed in production is very challenging, and continuous log support now lets logs be captured at the time the problem occurs.
“We also now have document expiry on mobile, which we didn’t have before,” Mitchell added.
Synchronization stats reporting has also been revamped, to make it easier to monitor and control management costs.