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February 20, 2014

Seeking High Scalability, Viber Opts for Couchbase

Tiffany Trader

Recently messaging and voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service and Skype-alternative Viber switched from MongoDB to Couchbase, citing the need for high scalability in its NoSQL solution. In benchmark tests, Couchbase provided eight times the scalability of MongoDB.

Viber is a messaging and voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) application for smartphones developed by Viber Media. Since its start in 2010, Viber has already reached over 200 million users, making it one of the fastest-growing messaging and VoIP services. In addition to text messaging, users can swap images, video and audio media messages. This always-on technology enables hundreds of millions of users around the world to connect in 32 languages. To support this high volume of data, Viber has implemented Couchbase as its scalable database solution. As a result, it is now able to handle thousands of operations-per-second.

“We found that MongoDB’s NoSQL technology could not adequately support the company’s growing data management needs,” said Amir Ish-Shalom, systems architect at Viber. “After investigating multiple database technologies such as Cassandra and Amazon’s DynamoDB, including more combinations of database plus caching layers, we deployed Couchbase. With Couchbase, we’re now able to handle hundreds of thousands of ops-per-second – an order of magnitude more than our previous solution.”

Ish-Shalom also reflected on Couchbase’s easy and transparent sharding and scaling model, which he said the previous solution lacked. He added that “Couchbase was able to provide several times more throughput using less than half the number of nodes.” The innovative cache and database tiering approach were also appealing to Viber.

“Over the last year we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of Internet companies and enterprises deploying NoSQL technology under large-scale mission-critical applications,” said Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold. “These applications require the highest level of scalability, performance, and reliability. This is exactly where Couchbase has been successful with its enterprise customers like PayPal, Amadeus, Orbitz, and now Viber. While large enterprises like Viber adopted MongoDB’s technology as a first-generation NoSQL approach to managing their data, we are steadily seeing those enterprises transition to Couchbase to provide them with the superior solution needed to scale their data and their businesses.”

Couchbase has identified three major trends, big data, big users, and cloud computing, as driving the adoption of NoSQL technology as an alternative to relational databases. Central to the big data paradigm is the idea that database scaling for the type of data that is popular today can best be implemented on clusters of commodity servers. Some of the characteristics that NoSQL databases offer are auto-sharding (the ability to automatically spread data across servers), distributed query support, and integrated caching.

Couchbase and Mongo DB are both very popular document-oriented NoSQL databases with excellent feature sets. Viber has undoubtedly found that its application does better on Couchbase, which is optimized for interactive applications, while other users will prefer MongoDB, depending on their unique preferences and needs.

Couchbase’s open source technology is under Apache 2.0 License. Packaged software from Couchbase, Inc. is available in both enterprise and community editions. Hundreds of companies, including AOL, Cisco, Concur, LinkedIn, Orbitz,, Shuffle Master, Zynga, and NHN Corporation, use the enterprise edition, Couchbase Server, for their interactive Web and mobile applications.

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