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Why Couchbase?

  • concept

    Today’s mission-critical applications demand support for millions of interactions with end-users. Traditional databases were built for thousands. Designed for consistency and control, they lack agility, flexibility, and scalability. To execute multiple use cases, organizations are forced to deploy multiple types of databases, resulting in a "database sprawl" - and inefficiency, sluggish time to market, and poor customer experience. Traditional transactional and analytical databases predate today’s cloud-everywhere reality. A cloud-native data management platform offers you a real competitive edge.

    Enterprises are realizing that the requirements for extraordinary customer engagement can’t be met just at the app tier. Building a great looking and well-designed app is just a start. The underlying database is what makes the difference. An Engagement Database powers multiple interactions and experiences by liberating the full potential of data, at any scale, across any channel or device, in order to drive a more meaningful relationship.

    Couchbase Server is an open source, distributed, NoSQL document-oriented engagement database. It exposes a fast key-value store with managed cache for sub-millisecond data operations, purpose-built indexers for fast queries and a powerful query engine for executing SQL-like queries. For mobile and Internet of Things environments Couchbase also runs natively on-device and manages synchronization to the server.

    Couchbase Server is specialized to provide low-latency data management for large-scale interactive web, mobile, and IoT applications. Common requirements that Couchbase Server was designed to satisfy include:

    • Unified Programming Interface

    • Query

    • Search

    • Mobile and IoT

    • Analytics

    • Core database engine

    • Scale-out architecture

    • Memory-first architecture

    • Big data and SQL integrations

    • Full-stack security

    • Container and Cloud deployments

    • High Availability

    Unified Programming Interface

    The Couchbase Data Platform provides simple, uniform and powerful application development APIs across multiple programming languages, connectors, and tools that makes building applications simple and accelerates time to market for applications.

    Couchbase is extremely straightforward to deploy and manage. Features such as replication are built in and happen automatically. Topology changes happen transparently without needing changes to the application or other Couchbase nodes. Each Couchbase Server node consists of completely identical software, making automation a breeze. The entire cluster is managed through a single administrator console that offers single-click cluster expansion and rebalance. Even highly sophisticated technology, such as cross-datacenter replication, can be configured with a single click in the Couchbase Web Console.


    Provides multiple data access paths to query and manage your JSON documents. App developers can pick the data access pattern that best meets their requirements. Flexible data access paths makes Couchbase useful for a wide variety of apps and use cases.

    Couchbase Server can be queried using N1QL, an expressive, powerful, and complete SQL dialect for querying, transforming, and manipulating JSON data. As SQL, it’s immediately familiar to developers who can quickly start developing rich applications. Unlike other NoSQL databases, Couchbase supports JOIN operations, enabling a wide range of data models. To help users develop rich applications with agility, N1QL is supported by a rich index infrastructure and also has extensions that allow it to handle heterogeneous documents with nested structures. N1QL is accessible to a full range of tools for analytics and data integration via JDBC and ODBC, such as Microsoft Excel and Tableau.

    Built-in full-text search makes it simple for developers to add intelligence to apps. Full text indexes are automatically managed within the Couchbase cluster, avoiding the time delay, overhead, and complexity of managing a separate full-text search product and infrastructure.

    Mobile and Internet of Things (IoT)

    Provides a full-stack data platform for your mobile and IoT apps, with built-in real-time data synchronization, enterprise-level security, and data integration to your existing ecosystem.


    Couchbase Analytics provides powerful parallel query processing. Designed to efficiently execute complex, long-running queries that contain complex joins, set, aggregation, and grouping operations. Addresses the challenges of supporting responsive, scalable apps and ad hoc analytics on the same dataset.

    Core Database Engine

    The core database engine provides the fundamental capabilities for document management and indexing. Based on a memory-first, async everywhere architecture, this includes core capabilities of the database engine, like caching, data persistence, and inter-node replication.

    Couchbase documents are JSON, a self-describing format capable of representing rich structures and relationships. Unlike a traditional RDBMS, the schema in Couchbase Server is a logical construct entirely defined in the application code and captured in the structure of the stored documents. Since there is no explicit schema to maintain, developers can add new objects and properties at any time just by pushing new application code that stores new JSON, without having to also make the same changes to the schemas. This allows applications to evolve quickly and seamlessly.

    Couchbase is an engagement database that serves end customer requests at internet-scale. This contrasts with analytical databases like Hadoop and Spark and machine learning environments accessed by analysts or data scientists that can tolerate orders of magnitude more latency.

    Scale-out Architecture

    To provide exceptional customer experiences you need to ensure that your engagement database is always on, always responsive, and can scale to meet changing workloads. Couchbase provides built-in distributed data storage and processing. This architecture ensures that the application is always on by providing the ability to detect and recover from hardware and network failures.

    Couchbase is designed to scale easily on commodity hardware and to be more hardware efficient than other NoSQL databases. Replication and sharding are fundamental features of Couchbase Server. It automatically distributes data across nodes in the cluster. Thus, the database can grow horizontally to share load by adding more RAM, disk, and CPU capacity without increasing the burden on developers and administrators. Couchbase Server achieves high hardware efficiency by employing asynchronous, non-blocking I/O at all levels for effective utilization of server resources. This maximizes both the storage I/O and the number of simultaneously connected clients per node. Couchbase’s architecture ensures that workloads are evenly distributed across cluster nodes, reducing bottlenecks and allowing users to take full advantage of the available hardware.

    Memory-first Architecture

    Customers expect and demand fast, responsive applications. The Couchbase Data Platform provides an architecture where performance is paramount, ensuring that all operations occur in memory and providing special memory-optimized data management options. Couchbase is designed to process online operational data-heavy read and write traffic for large modern web, mobile, and IoT applications. For Couchbase, low latency at scale typically refers to consistent sub-millisecond reads and writes. While maximum raw speeds are important, many practitioners care more about being able to deliver those high speeds and low latencies with minimal variance during heavy workloads. Couchbase continues to deliver consistently high performance even under heavy load. Predictable, consistent performance guarantees responsiveness and improves the user experience in real-world deployments.

    Couchbase Server is a memory-centric system that intelligently keeps frequently accessed documents, metadata, and indexes in RAM, yielding high read/write throughput at very low latency. These capabilities arise from Couchbase’s integral object managed cache which is a distributed hash table with full memcached API compatibility. The document database makes heavy use of the object managed cache.

    Big Data and SQL Integrations

    Exceptional customer experiences don’t occur in isolation. Couchbase Data Platform includes built-in Big Data and SQL integration, allowing you to leverage tools, processing capacity, and data wherever it may reside.

    Full-stack Security

    Securing customer data is a must-have, both from a compliance and from a basic data access perspective. Couchbase Data Platform provides secure data everywhere – on the wire, on the device, in the cloud, and in the data center.

    Container and Cloud Deployments

    Businesses are quickly adopting a cloud-first strategy to create and deliver innovation faster and adapt to the constant change in business needs and requirements. Couchbase supports all cloud platforms, as well as a variety of container and virtualization technologies to enable operational excellence.

    High Availability

    Built with a strong emphasis on reliability, high availability, and simple management, an important feature of Couchbase Server is that all operations can be done while the system remains online, without requiring modifications or interrupting running applications. The system never needs to be taken offline for routine maintenance such as software upgrades, index building, compaction, hardware refreshes, or any other operation. Even provisioning or removing nodes can be done entirely online without any interruption to running applications, and without requiring developers to modify their applications.

    Equally important, Couchbase Server’s built-in fault tolerance mechanisms protect against downtime caused by arbitrary unplanned incidents, including server failures. Replication and failover are important mechanisms that increase system availability. Couchbase Server replicates data across multiple nodes to support failover. Ensuring that additional copies of the data are available is automated to deal with the inevitable failures that large distributed systems are designed to recover from. All of this is done automatically without need for manual intervention or downtime.

    Entire Couchbase Server clusters can be replicated to one or more alternate geographical locations using Cross Data Center Replication (XDCR), a technology that delivers increased high availability, disaster recovery and geographic load balancing. XDCR addresses the unique challenges inherent in linking clusters that span across a wide-area network (WAN) rather than simply extending local-cluster replication across a WAN.


    Many databases are able to satisfy one or more of these requirements but require tradeoffs when running in production with internet-scale, mission critical applications. For example, one solution might deliver data model flexibility, might be very flexible in the data model but lack the ability to add or remove nodes without a serious impact on up-time or performance. Another solution might demonstrate good write scalability without being able to index or and change the data model on the fly. Couchbase Server is designed to deliver an excellent developer experience and easy administration while also providing outstanding performance at scale, whether in the cloud, in a container, on-premise or on an edge device.