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07 November 2011, 16:55

MongoDB: Real, FUD or Hoax controversy spreads online

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MongoDB logo Is it FUD, a hoax or a real complaint about MongoDB? That is the question being asked by many after an anonymous posting on Pastebin called "Don't use MongoDB" created a flurry of controversy around the open source NoSQL database. The posting, alledgedly by an ex-user of the database, claimed that MongoDB loses data in various situations, including deleting the entire dataset, and that 10gen, the company behind MongoDB, was not prioritising reliability and instead chasing benchmarks. The eight part list also included complaints about performance on busy servers, recovery from database corruption and issues with replication stopping.

The link to the Pastebin posting initially appeared in the many comments on a posting by Urban Airship developers called "Failing with MongoDB" on the YCombinator site Hacker News by a user under named 'nomoremongo' with a request that someone post it as a new link. It was then posted as a new item on Hacker News by a user named 'nmongo' where a debate took place about the authenticity of the posting and the claims it was making.

10Gen's CTO, Eliot Horowitz, took the unusual step of responding in the hundreds of comments on the "Don't use MongoDB" claims, first noting that he was unable to match them with any 10gen customer and responded to each of the claims pointing out techniques to deal with replication issues, noting no cases of records "just disappearing" but also acknowledging issues around read/write locks. He denied that 10gen focussed on benchmarks adding "MongoDB is still a new product, there are definitely rough edges, and a seemingly infinite list of things to do". Horowitz also invited developers and users to visit the company during open office hours and talk with the development team.

Then the entire issue took a stranger turn with the original poster of the item on Hacker News, 'nmongo', then claiming the entire story was a hoax saying "My intention was to troll as many hipsters as possible and make them a little more aware of how easy to manipulate they are, without even providing the slightest bit of evidence". Whether this comment itself is a hoax is unclear. The debate about MongoDB has now spread onto various blogs.

Update - The apparent author of "Don't use MongoDB" pastebin text, "nomoremongo", has also commented saying he stands by what is in the message saying "I honestly just intended this to benefit the community, nothing more. I'm genuinely troubled that it might cause some problems for 10gen, b/c, again, Eliot & co are nice people".


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