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MongoDB gets incremental restores ... for a price

10Gen cranks monetization handle to lift MongoDB into the cloud

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MongoDB steward 10Gen is trying to squeeze money out of heavy users of the open source NoSQL database, and has set aside almost a petabyte of raw storage to deal with initial demand for a new backup-and-restore service.

Like other companies that shepherd an open source product (Canonical – Ubuntu, Basho – Riak, et cetera), 10Gen has to walk a fine line between introducing features that enterprise users want, while not alienating standard developers of the free version who may feel left out.

The MongoDB Backup Solution, announced Tuesday, is an attempt by the company to walk this tightrope. The technology provides a way of incrementally backing up the database, where previously it was only possible to do full backups and restores via the native mongodump and mongorestore utilities.

"Technically there's nothing special about what we did, but I think there's a lot of caveats to making it work well," 10Gen's chief technology officer Eliot Horowitz told The Register. "Anyone could do it – it is no lock-in, there's no magic feature we added to make it work, it's just using the replication internals in a different way."

The technology will be available in two variants – an as-a-service version for small and medium-sized enterprises, and an on-premise version for large enterprises. The as-a-service version has a complex pricing scheme that encourages companies to snapshot often as long as their datasets are not expected to dramatically change from day to day.* Enterprise pricing has not been decided upon yet, but the company has considered wrapping it in as part of an overall enterprise per-node fee, Horowitz indicated.

All transferred data is SSL encrypted, and two-factor authentication is required for restores. Backups are stored in multiple, geographically dispersed data centers. At the moment, these bit barns are located in US-based colocation facilities operated by Global3 and Equinix, so Euro-punters worried about latency and US interception of data under the Patriot Act and FISA should steer clear. 10Gen hopes to expand internationally this year, Horowitz said.

Like MongoDB's other recently introduced enterprise features – Kerberos authentication and on-premises monitoring – 10Gen expects to keep the technology proprietary for now. "This is not something we're looking to opensource at this point," Horowitz said. "We think enterprises like backup solutions that are integrated very deeply with the technology. On the service side, I think that makes a lot of sense."

The company has set aside almost a petabyte of raw storage capacity across a mixture of flash and spinning disk, and expects to increase this over time.

Customers can reserve a spot for a limited release of the technology beginning on Tuesday, and MongoDB expects it will become generally available in Summer 2013. ®

* Bootnote

The initial cost of transferring the MongoDB snapshot to 10Gen is nil, and thereafter admins are charged $2 per gigabyte of transferred data, along with an individual snapshot cost of $0.01, and $0.08 per stored gigabyte. As the backups are incremental, the cost is according to the churn of the dataset, so a 15GB pool may only see 500MB of data change per day.

The essential guide to IT transformation

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