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Posted September 13, 2013

Couchbase Brings Open-Source NoSQL Database to the Mobile Form Factor

By Sean Michael Kerner

Open-source NoSQL database vendor Couchbase is growing its portfolio from the server to mobile devices with its new Couchbase Lite initiative. Couchbase is also releasing a new server version as well, providing improved security and administration capabilities.

Couchbase develops and sells an open-source NoSQL database that to date has been a server-deployed product. The Couchbase Lite effort changes that, providing developers with a native small footprint database that can run on either Apple iOS or Google Android mobile operating systems.

Couchbase Lite has been written from the ground up in Objective-C for Apple iOS and is written in Java for Google Android, Rahim Yaseen, senior vice president of product development at Couchbase told eWEEK.

"It has the same APIs as Couchbase on the server, but it is an ultra-lightweight native installation on the mobile device," Yaseen said.

Complementing the Couchbase Lite database is the Couchbase Sync Gateway that will synchronize the connections from mobile user endpoints.

The Sync Gateway creates an end-user abstraction, called channels, Yaseen explained, adding that a channel for Couchbase is a concept around which a collection of devices can communicate with each other. One such use case could be for a group chat or collaboration session.

"The way we think of the Sync Gateway is as a container for all the different channels," Yaseen said. "The server itself is still doing the basic database read and write activities."

From a scalability perspective, the Sync Gateway will scale based on the number of channels and connected devices. The back-end Couchbase server scales based on the data requirements for the read and write actions.

Both the Couchbase Lite database and the Sync Gateway are being made available in Beta now by Couchbase as open-source community products. The plan is to also have fully enterprise-supported releases at the time of general availability, which is currently set for the first quarter of 2014.

Couchbase Server 2.2

In contrast to the Couchbase Lite and Sync Gateway products, Couchbase Server 2.2 is now generally available with both community and enterprise editions. The new Couchbase 2.2 Server builds on the improvements in the Couchbase 2.1 release that debuted in June of this year.

One of the new additions in Couchbase 2.2 is a security capability that provides read-only administration through the Couchbase Admin Console. The system is not a full Role Based Access Control (RBAC) system that would provide different levels of access to different classes of users. There is no need for RBAC with Couchbase, according to Yaseen.

"When we've talked to our customers, they've told us that there really aren't that many roles within an organization for administration of a NoSQL database," Yaseen said.

The new Couchbase 2.2 and Couchbase Lite release follow Couchbase's recent Series D round of funding where the company raised an additional $25 million in capital. To date, Couchbase has raised $55 million across four funding rounds.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Originally published on eWeek.

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