Redis vs MongoDB: How to differ and what to choose?

When it comes to practical software development questions, it’s hard to find the right answers in Google immediately. Usually, the most useful tips are hidden in the bits of information from Quora, forums, or unreadable articles.

Actually, distinguishing between Redis and MongoDB is exactly the same case. But the problem is solved here. Read this overview to fill the informational vacuum on this topic!

Redis vs MongoDB: Introduction to the topic

For those who never heard these two words before, Redis and MongoDB are two NoSQL databases. Logically, being the two types under the same class, they have both structural similarities and differences. But what exactly they are?

In terms of similarities, Redis and MongoDB are common in these areas:

  • The release year: 2009
  • The license type: Open Source
  • Compatibility with several operating systems: Windows, Linux, and OS X
  • Supporting several programming languages: C, C#, C++, Clojure, D, Dart, Erlang, Go, Haskell, Java, Javascript, Lisp, Lua, MatLab, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Scala, and Smalltalk
  • Secondary indexes: Enabled status
  • Replication: Master-slave
  • Compatible with: ScaleGrid, CData
  • Need the same amount of time to build sophisticated requests for data processing

But of course, they are also different – in their original model, basically.

Redis works within memory and serves as a compositional element of a software system. There, you can find it as a database, cache, or message broker. This simplest management system works with pairs of keys and values, making the process similar to working with a dictionary.

In its turn, MongoDB is a document store. This format makes it autonomous enough to work as a cloud technology or a part of self-service infrastructure. It is not fixed by the single scheme requirement but uses internal notations.

So, what’s the basis of the dissimilarity between two databases?

Because of the different original model basis, there were times when Redis and MongoDB were simply incomparable. But recently, s search engine became a secondary database model for both Redis and MongoDB. And this modification (titled Percona Memory Engine) made it possible to compare Redis vs MongoDB as equals.

Simply put, Redis is generally known by high performance, while MongoDB is more efficient in terms of API used. But of course, there are more details and practical applications to know for sure how to choose a database. Let’s check how they differ in terms of speed, performance, configuration, and other processing criteria.

Redis Framework Advantages

Advantages of Redis

One the one hand, Redis framework is the in-memory database useful for cache, message brokering, and the development tasks that require outstanding performance.

Here are the details:

  1. Redis is an excellent choice for caching. With it, you can build sophisticated data structures and get access to multiple options to store and query information.
  2. The installation process is simple, and the database is easy to maintain.
  3. The system is persistent. Even though the database copes with heavy loads of information, the clear key-value structure protects it from hassles.
  4. Redis framework is the top pick for “hot data,” or the information you need to process fast. In this case, it’s able to process up to 1GB at once.
  5. It has an effective message transport system that is easily replicated on various machines within one cluster.

Disadvantages of Redis

Of course, Redis also has some shortcomings you should be aware of. In fact, all of them are related to the in-memory structure of this database.

Here are these structural elements Redis lacks:

  1. It doesn’t maintain encryption on the wire.
  2. Redis sticks to its principle of mandatory storage to all the data.
  3. There is no basis to divide roles and responsibilities within the database (frequently referred to as “role-based account control”).
  4. Since the information is stored is separate structural units that are connected in pairs, it’s hard to provide the deliberate clustering.
  5. It’s hard to connect Redis to massive cloud databases in big organizations. Also, if you want to scale it, you have no choice but to create several interlinked Redis databases.
  6. You can’t simply input data into Redis. This database requires your architectural skills to determine the saving and structuring of your information in advance.

Advantages of MongoDB Framework


Advantages of MongoDB

On another hand, MongoDB framework is frequently stored on the disk, being referred to as Persona memory storage engine. To function, it creates JSON interface for information. Also, to empower the performance of MongoDB, search engines are frequently connected to this database.

That’s the reason why MongoDB database has collected many advantages:

  1. MongoDB effectively solves the issue of cost and speed for choosing an appropriate solution. Precisely, it offers several assumptions you can choose from.
  2. It’s simple to understand and use, thanks to the user-friendly JSON format of representation.
  3. MongoDB is the best choice for scaling because you can distribute it on various platforms.
  4. All the basic functionality is in-built – including SSL, RBAC, and scale-out.
  5. It enables playing with many features – including aggregations and map-reduce.
  6. It saves your resources spent on extra learning and maintenance spending.
  7. It’s a great choice for managing customer analytics and product catalogs. Empowered by a docker container, the database is effective while dealing with information system projects.

Disadvantages of MongoDB

In fact, MongoDB framework has disadvantages when you try to use it for tasks that are more complicated than simple prototyping. Also, there are some other nuances:

  1. It’s ineffective for caching. To complete this development task, the very structure of MongoDB database is too chaotic. So, in any case of fast and straightforward processing, this framework has severe drawbacks.
  2. It lacks persistence. MongoDB database doesn’t have a sustainable basis for coping with replicas still.
  3. MongoDB can’t maintain elements for binding sustainably.
  4. While scaling, you may experience problems with moving analytical and rich searching data.

Redis vs MongoDB: Speed

In the competition of Redis vs MongoDB, the latter is known for its high speed. Because MongoDB is simpler in use and structure, it doesn’t require much and can be fast. On the contrary, the presence of fragmented elements in the internal structure of Redis forces it to take more time for processing.

Redis vs MongoDB: Performance

Both databases are compute-bound. However, Redis manages to perform the same quality on one core, while MongoDB uses multiple cores to succeed. In practice, your Redis database can fly as fast as your cache!

Everything has its price, though – and Redis framework pays for its outstanding performance by using much more RAM for storage purposes.

Redis vs MongoDB: Configuration

Based on YCSB measurement tests, the comparison of Redis and MongoDB also revealed the better performance of Redis.

Conclusion: How to choose between Redis and MongoDB?

And as a final titbit, here are the most useful insights from user experience for you to choose between Redis and MongoDB:

  1. Revise the level of your development team before making a choice. For the beginners, the simplicity of MongoDB turns it into the top pick. But if you need the full functionality of a database and can dedicate extra time to learn how to master it, go for Redis.
  2. Determine the deadline for the development task. Usually, Redis takes more time to create the internal structure of queries and customize their types. On the contrary, MongoDB uses one structure and enables finishing the development task faster.
  3. Measure the complexity of the development task. MongoDB is a classic database that is better for simple work and prototyping. Also, it’s useful for Junior software developers or the teams that work in startups or during Hackathons. In its turn, Redis is more innovative, complex, and flexible. It needs more time to master – but in return, you gain a deeper knowledge and the wider horizon of development opportunities in return.
  4. Check how much you know about the project. If you don’t know everything, go for MongoDB. This database uses prescribed schema (through the app), so you don’t need to input everything manually. But if you choose Redis, be ready to explicitly define how you want to store information to use this database comfortably.

In sum, many developers go for MongoDB, thanks to its speed, effectiveness, and elegance. After the introduction of Percona Memory Engine (which improved the performance characteristics of this database), their number even increased. At the same time, the novelty and flexibility of Redis makes a preferable choice for pro developers.

At the same time, you should always keep in mind that Redis and MongoDB are different as a bicycle and a car. In reality, the speed you want, the number of resources available, and the distance you need to complete are the real factors for selecting between these frameworks.

In the end, both Redis and MongoDB are good at coping with the task of data storage and maintenance.

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