Early this morning, Couchbase 2.0 was officially released. The release is a big step forward for the Couchbase open source project and, in my opinion, has the potential to shake up the NoSQL landscape. You can read all about the new features and capabilities in other blog posts but I’d like to focus here on why I think this release is significant.

With the 2.0 release Couchbase is now both a key-value and a document database.  Both technology types have generated a lot of interest in the NoSQL market. They are, of course, very similar. The fundamental difference is that a pure key-value database doesn’t understand what’s stored in the value and limits developers to a simple interface of SETS and GETS, while a document database understands the format in which documents are stored and can therefore provide richer functionality for developers, such as access to documents through queries.

It’s probably not surprising that pure key-value and document databases have evolved quite differently during the early years of the NoSQL industry. Since the development environment of a pure key-value database is by its nature very limited, developers of pure key-value databases have focused their resources on easy scalability, high performance, and reliability at scale. On the other hand, developers of document databases have generally focused their resources on building a rich developer environment with oodles of features but are often criticized for poor scalability, performance, and reliability at scale.

As a result, applications developers have too often had to make a difficult tradeoff: do I opt for the scalability, performance, and reliability advantages of a pure key value database and live with a simple developer API, or do I pick the richer developer API of a document database and live with poorer scalability, performance, and reliability?

I think the Couchbase 2.0 release takes a huge step in bridging this gap. We’ve worked hard to make sure this release provides the same easy scalability, consistently high performance, and reliability at scale for which Couchbase has become well known, while also providing the indexing and querying capabilities that developers love about a document database.

Frankly, for those looking for an alternative to MongoDB because their application requires better scalability, performance, and reliability, we think Couchbase 2.0 is a great fit.

While a primary focus of the 2.0 release was augmenting Couchbase’s functionality to become a document database, the release also significantly extends our leadership in scalability, performance, and always-on 24×365. Whether you are developing against a pure key-value or a document model, we think you’ll find these new features of interest:

  • Cross Data Center Replication (XDCR) extends our leadership in ease of scalability by allowing you to mirror your database across datacenters;
  • Cache management improvements extend our leadership in performance;
  • On-line automatic database compaction extends our leadership in always-on 24×365 by removing any worries about database fragmentation.

To sum it up, I believe Couchbase’s entry into the document database arena, combined with our legacy of strength in performance and scalability, gives users a welcome (and worthy) alternative to MongoDB. And, by encompassing both key value and document database capabilities, we offer more options to address a broader range of use cases with a single technology. Couchbase 2.0 is the most important release to date in the life of Couchbase technology, and one that will deliver a lot of value for users and customers. But you need to decide that for yourself – download Couchbase Server 2.0 and let me know what you think!


Posted by Bob Wiederhold

Bob served as President and CEO of Couchbase from 2010 to 2017. Until an acquisition by IBM in 2008, Bob served as chairman, CEO, and president of Transitive Corporation, the worldwide leader in cross-platform virtualization with over 20 million users. Previously, he was president and CEO of Tality Corporation, the worldwide leader in electronic design services, whose revenues and size grew to almost $200 million and had 1,500 worldwide employees. Bob held several executive general management positions at Cadence Design Systems, Inc., an electronic design automation company, which he joined in 1985 as an early stage start-up and helped to grow to more than $1.5 billion during his 13 years at the company. Bob also headed High Level Design Systems, a successful electronic design automation start-up that was acquired by Cadence in 1996.


  1. hey, where is the Perl module ?

    1. Check out couchbase.com/develop for a link to a perl client!

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  3. Charles Sasi Paul February 12, 2013 at 5:12 am

    When can we expect a rest interface in couchbase?

    1. Very soon we expect to have a REST interface through an nginx module. That\’s being developed right now.

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