I had the esteemed privilege of speaking at mongoNYC this week where I gave a talk about how we’re using mongoDB in our workflow at the NYT R&D lab to do wonderful and interesting things. The conference was a great chance to let people know what we’ve been up to at the lab as well as to beam about how great mongoDB’s been to us. It was also a chance to learn more about mongo from the experts and to compare tips and tricks with other users.
Not only did I learn a ton about mongo, I also learned that the people at 10gen are absolutely the most helpful, open, and generous group of devs I’ve met in a long time. Did you know they have office hours where you can go and ask questions about your schema / queries / what have you? Who does that? All the 10gen-ers were ridiculously awesome and incredibly wiling to help and I will most definitely be crashing in on them if they’ll let me.
There was some nice coverage from PC World of the conference and you can snag slides of my talk here. For the impatient, I tried to emphasize the following 5 reasons mongoDB is great for a hybrid research / dev environment:
1. Schemaless is the way to go when you’re doing research. We can’t bother futzing with RDBMS schemas when we’re constantly changing what we want to look at.
2. Scalable systems are imperative. Even if we’re not dealing with big data when we start a project, the data demands can rise significantly as we move toward a product (see Project Cascade).
3. Map/Reduce is a great built-in method for doing batch operations that we don’t need done in realtime.
4. JSON as the interface language is brilliant, as most of our data comes from APIs in JSON form or Python dictionaries already.
5. We needed something that could ingest data quickly. mongoDB has no problem chewing up huge streams of data super quickly.
I’ll of course continue to use other technologies in the lab, but this conference solidified mongo’s place amongst my set of core data tools. If you need a scalable data store that not only tears up data but also gives you a lot of flexibility and functionality (more than, say, a key-value store), it’s hard to do better than mongoDB.