As the interest in MongoDB heats up in the devlopement comunity you might be asking yourself …
“I’m no DBA, I don’t want to maintian my own server … do any web hosts offer MongoDB?”
The anwser generally is no, however there are a few smaller start up that are seeking to fill that void … one of them is MongoHQ “… the hosted database solution for easily getting your apps up and running with MongoDB.”
They also sport quite a nice webbased UI for MongoDB, and best of all you can try it all for free or as low as $5 a month (great for getting your feet wet with MongoDB.)
Jason McCay of MongoHQ was nice enough to answer a few questions for us about their motivations in starting the company, the challenges of hosting on a large scale, creating a UI and their long term goals ….
Who is MongoHQ?
LM: Tell us a little about you guys
MongoHQ (while we have had many talented people help us along the way) consists of three guys: myself, Ben Wyrosdick and Anthony Crumley. We formed a Ruby on Rails consultancy called CommonThread about four years ago and started working on the beginnnings of MongoHQ about a year ago. So far, it has been a great experience and we have learned much.
LM: What inspired you to create MongoHQ?
Originally our interest was in CouchDB, but after seeing a couple of tweets, namely one by Nic Williams (@drnic), our interest in MongoDB and the technology around the NoSQL/NoRM movement really grew. From there, we started experimenting and picked up some traction by discovering there was an interest in a hosted solution.
At first, 10gen (the creators of MongoDB) wasn’t so sure about our idea, but they have been amazing along the way…assisting us and even making minor adjustments to their platform to make hosting MongoDB instances easier.
Large Scale MongoDB Hosting
LM: What is the most interesting problem you have encountered while creating MongoHQ?
I think that the most interesting problem that we had to solve was a more general one: hosting mulitple MongoDB instances in a shared environment, creating plan levels and managing resources and quotas. We continue to work though better strategies for this and we are very excited about how upcoming releases of MongoDB could assist us.
MongoDB is an amazing technology that continues to prove itself to be extremely reliable under heavy load.
LM: You use Amazon EC2′s cloud to power MongoHQ. What sort of challenges has managing so many MongoDB Databases/Servers, etc. caused? How do you manage on that scale?
For us, the challenges that have taken the most time are creating effective strategies for optimizing I/O performance on physical disks. We have had situations where a server CPU would be almost 100% idle, yet the I/O would be completely utilized.
These problems are not easily solved and once you do have a workable solution, they take time to implement. Hundreds and thousands of gigabytes of data is not moved around quickly, especially when you cannot derogate performance on the production servers. Luckily, we are getting smarter about this.
LM: From a web development perspective, what have you learned from creating a web interface for MongoDB?
Honestly, I think we have learned that, while it is a nice visual to the actual MongoDB instance, it needs to be more than just that. We need the interface to assist people by automating some of the more manual tasks that they are forced to do in the shell, especially in terms of backups, monitoring, and logging.
The growth and support needs that have hit us over the last few months have really forced us to slow development of the MongoHQ web interface. This is unfortunate and we plan to make some much needed improvements as well as feature additions soon.
What’s to Come …
LM: What are some of your longer term goals for MongoHQ?
At this time, our longer term plans tend to focus on the creation of custom plans and dedicated plans. We want to provide our users with more control over their environments while, at the same time, providing them useful tools, control and support.
Also, we are focused on expanding MongoHQ into global availability zones as well as expanding into addtional cloud infrastructures.
LM: How did you come up with your awesome rocket logo?
We wanted to do something fun and engaging, so we threw out the idea of a rocket to Von Glitschaka (@vonster), the designer of our logo and he provided us with a great, scalable brand that we are really pleased with. The stereotypical database motif as the different stages of the rocket was totally Von. He did an awesome job.
So go ahead and check out MongoHQ for yourself, you can even use their web based UI to connect to your own MongoDB server.