ForestDB is a next-generation storage engine defined by an open source project that started implementation a year ago. This embedded, key-value system is built to address the main drawbacks of typical B+-Tree index structure to push disk IO performance to the next level.

The initial presentation of the new HB+-Trie structure, which is the underlying structure for ForestDB, was originally presented at ACM SIGMOD 2011 by Jung-Sang Ahn. Chiyoung Seo is leading the team implementing ForestDB with Sundar Sridharan at Couchbase. Through the implementation, we have seen a great deal of improvement on SSD (Solid State Drive) performance.

Under the hood, ForestDB is an MVCC (multi-version concurrency control) append only storage engine. ForestDB provides snapshotting capabilities to create multiple views of the database and supports rollbacks to the snapshots. If you would like to learn more, check out our repo.

Our goal initially was to shatter key/value storage performance numbers with ForestDB so I’ll give a quick glimpse into that before I close. We have compared ForestDB vs. RocksDB vs. LevelDB,  and for mobile deployments, to SQLite. I am happy to report we outperform both in multiple dimensions. I’ll highlight the write performance compared with LevelDB and Rocks DB here given that usually is the most challenging one to scale – you can see over 2x better throughput with the batch of document count below.

Benchmarking is always a complex matter so I encourage everyone to explore the full details. Please refer to the performance results page we have published for full details. 

We are very excited to put ForestDB out in beta before it shows up in Couchbase Server and Couchbase Lite. We welcome contributions and feedback. Please reach out to us through the repo. Let’s continue to work together to innovate in the storage engine tier.

Cihan Biyikoglu – Director of Product Management @ Couchbase


Posted by Cihan Biyikoglu, Director of Product Management, Couchbase

Cihan Biyikoglu is a director of product management at Couchbase, responsible for the Couchbase Server product. Cihan is a big data enthusiast who brings over twenty years of experience to Redis Labs’ product team. Cihan started his career as a C/C++ developer.


  1. Are the performance test data and the load scripts available for download?

    1. Thanks for the inquiry. We have the scripts for performance measurements and comparisons, and will push them into the github repository soon.

  2. Support android CBLite now ???
    And how to update my old android CBlite project to this ?

    1. Hi There, this is in the works. I don\’t have a specific date to share at the moment but will post as soon as we have clarity on timelines. thanks!

      1. Alexander Petrossian April 13, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        ping. we fully expected this to go into 3.0, but no :(

        1. Cihan Biyikoglu April 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

          Hi @alexanderpetrossian:disqus, if you meant forestDB in 3.0, that is happening. We will have forestDB supporting the new global secondary indexes.

          1. Alexander Petrossian April 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm

            Cihan, my main concern was in reducing the persistence disk requirements.
            In 2.x days it was about 10x less in one of our use case. Session storage. We have pretty busy sessions. And we need them pretty much persistent.

            On jira comments I remember a plan to speed the persistence up by using a new storage format.

            Please correct me if I misunderstood, Cihan.

          2. Cihan Biyikoglu April 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

            There are 2 issues:
            – We are tracking a way for no persistence – which is memcached bucket type here:

            – Another is to introduce ForestDB for Couchbase Data Service storage. There are small improvements in 4.0 Data Service storage but ForestDB for data service is still in the works. Only Index service will get ForestDB in Couchbase Server 4.0.

  3. i will focus it.

    ok.thanks a lot!

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