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Couchbase vs Memcached: What are the differences?

What is Couchbase? Document-Oriented NoSQL Database. Developed as an alternative to traditionally inflexible SQL databases, the Couchbase NoSQL database is built on an open source foundation and architected to help developers solve real-world problems and meet high scalability demands.

What is Memcached? High-performance, distributed memory object caching system. Memcached is an in-memory key-value store for small chunks of arbitrary data (strings, objects) from results of database calls, API calls, or page rendering.

Couchbase and Memcached can be primarily classified as "Databases" tools.

"Flexible data model, easy scalability, extremely fast" is the top reason why over 13 developers like Couchbase, while over 133 developers mention "Fast object cache" as the leading cause for choosing Memcached.

Memcached is an open source tool with 8.99K GitHub stars and 2.6K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Memcached's open source repository on GitHub.

Facebook, Instagram, and Dropbox are some of the popular companies that use Memcached, whereas Couchbase is used by RecordSetter, Musixmatch, and Crowdpark. Memcached has a broader approval, being mentioned in 755 company stacks & 267 developers stacks; compared to Couchbase, which is listed in 45 company stacks and 21 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

What is Couchbase?

Developed as an alternative to traditionally inflexible SQL databases, the Couchbase NoSQL database is built on an open source foundation and architected to help developers solve real-world problems and meet high scalability demands.

What is Memcached?

Memcached is an in-memory key-value store for small chunks of arbitrary data (strings, objects) from results of database calls, API calls, or page rendering.
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      What are some alternatives to Couchbase and Memcached?
      MongoDB
      MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
      CouchDB
      Apache CouchDB is a database that uses JSON for documents, JavaScript for MapReduce indexes, and regular HTTP for its API. CouchDB is a database that completely embraces the web. Store your data with JSON documents. Access your documents and query your indexes with your web browser, via HTTP. Index, combine, and transform your documents with JavaScript.
      Cassandra
      Partitioning means that Cassandra can distribute your data across multiple machines in an application-transparent matter. Cassandra will automatically repartition as machines are added and removed from the cluster. Row store means that like relational databases, Cassandra organizes data by rows and columns. The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is a close relative of SQL.
      Redis
      Redis is an open source, BSD licensed, advanced key-value store. It is often referred to as a data structure server since keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets and sorted sets.
      HBase
      Apache HBase is an open-source, distributed, versioned, column-oriented store modeled after Google' Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data by Chang et al. Just as Bigtable leverages the distributed data storage provided by the Google File System, HBase provides Bigtable-like capabilities on top of Apache Hadoop.
      See all alternatives
      Decisions about Couchbase and Memcached
      Node.js
      Node.js
      Python
      Python
      MySQL
      MySQL
      Memcached
      Memcached
      nginx
      nginx
      RabbitMQ
      RabbitMQ
      Redis
      Redis
      Django
      Django
      Tornado
      Tornado
      Varnish
      Varnish
      HAProxy
      HAProxy

      Around the time of their Series A, Pinterest’s stack included Python and Django, with Tornado and Node.js as web servers. Memcached / Membase and Redis handled caching, with RabbitMQ handling queueing. Nginx, HAproxy and Varnish managed static-delivery and load-balancing, with persistent data storage handled by MySQL.

      See more
      Kir Shatrov
      Kir Shatrov
      Production Engineer at Shopify · | 12 upvotes · 78.3K views
      atShopifyShopify
      Rails
      Rails
      MySQL
      MySQL
      Memcached
      Memcached
      Redis
      Redis

      As is common in the Rails stack, since the very beginning, we've stayed with MySQL as a relational database, Memcached for key/value storage and Redis for queues and background jobs.

      In 2014, we could no longer store all our data in a single MySQL instance - even by buying better hardware. We decided to use sharding and split all of Shopify into dozens of database partitions.

      Sharding played nicely for us because Shopify merchants are isolated from each other and we were able to put a subset of merchants on a single shard. It would have been harder if our business assumed shared data between customers.

      The sharding project bought us some time regarding database capacity, but as we soon found out, there was a huge single point of failure in our infrastructure. All those shards were still using a single Redis. At one point, the outage of that Redis took down all of Shopify, causing a major disruption we later called “Redismageddon”. This taught us an important lesson to avoid any resources that are shared across all of Shopify.

      Over the years, we moved from shards to the concept of "pods". A pod is a fully isolated instance of Shopify with its own datastores like MySQL, Redis, memcached. A pod can be spawned in any region. This approach has helped us eliminate global outages. As of today, we have more than a hundred pods, and since moving to this architecture we haven't had any major outages that affected all of Shopify. An outage today only affects a single pod or region.

      See more
      Kir Shatrov
      Kir Shatrov
      Production Engineer at Shopify · | 13 upvotes · 146.1K views
      atShopifyShopify
      Docker
      Docker
      Kubernetes
      Kubernetes
      Google Kubernetes Engine
      Google Kubernetes Engine
      MySQL
      MySQL
      Redis
      Redis
      Memcached
      Memcached

      At Shopify, over the years, we moved from shards to the concept of "pods". A pod is a fully isolated instance of Shopify with its own datastores like MySQL, Redis, Memcached. A pod can be spawned in any region. This approach has helped us eliminate global outages. As of today, we have more than a hundred pods, and since moving to this architecture we haven't had any major outages that affected all of Shopify. An outage today only affects a single pod or region.

      As we grew into hundreds of shards and pods, it became clear that we needed a solution to orchestrate those deployments. Today, we use Docker, Kubernetes, and Google Kubernetes Engine to make it easy to bootstrap resources for new Shopify Pods.

      See more
      AWS Elastic Beanstalk
      AWS Elastic Beanstalk
      Heroku
      Heroku
      Ruby
      Ruby
      Rails
      Rails
      Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
      Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
      MariaDB
      MariaDB
      Microsoft SQL Server
      Microsoft SQL Server
      Amazon RDS
      Amazon RDS
      AWS Lambda
      AWS Lambda
      Python
      Python
      Redis
      Redis
      Memcached
      Memcached
      AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
      AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
      Amazon Elasticsearch Service
      Amazon Elasticsearch Service
      Amazon ElastiCache
      Amazon ElastiCache

      We initially started out with Heroku as our PaaS provider due to a desire to use it by our original developer for our Ruby on Rails application/website at the time. We were finding response times slow, it was painfully slow, sometimes taking 10 seconds to start loading the main page. Moving up to the next "compute" level was going to be very expensive.

      We moved our site over to AWS Elastic Beanstalk , not only did response times on the site practically become instant, our cloud bill for the application was cut in half.

      In database world we are currently using Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL also, we have both MariaDB and Microsoft SQL Server both hosted on Amazon RDS. The plan is to migrate to AWS Aurora Serverless for all 3 of those database systems.

      Additional services we use for our public applications: AWS Lambda, Python, Redis, Memcached, AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon ElastiCache

      See more
      StackShare Editors
      StackShare Editors
      Prometheus
      Prometheus
      Chef
      Chef
      Consul
      Consul
      Memcached
      Memcached
      Hack
      Hack
      Swift
      Swift
      Hadoop
      Hadoop
      Terraform
      Terraform
      Airflow
      Airflow
      Apache Spark
      Apache Spark
      Kubernetes
      Kubernetes
      gRPC
      gRPC
      HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine)
      HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine)
      Presto
      Presto
      Kotlin
      Kotlin
      Apache Thrift
      Apache Thrift

      Since the beginning, Cal Henderson has been the CTO of Slack. Earlier this year, he commented on a Quora question summarizing their current stack.

      Apps
      • Web: a mix of JavaScript/ES6 and React.
      • Desktop: And Electron to ship it as a desktop application.
      • Android: a mix of Java and Kotlin.
      • iOS: written in a mix of Objective C and Swift.
      Backend
      • The core application and the API written in PHP/Hack that runs on HHVM.
      • The data is stored in MySQL using Vitess.
      • Caching is done using Memcached and MCRouter.
      • The search service takes help from SolrCloud, with various Java services.
      • The messaging system uses WebSockets with many services in Java and Go.
      • Load balancing is done using HAproxy with Consul for configuration.
      • Most services talk to each other over gRPC,
      • Some Thrift and JSON-over-HTTP
      • Voice and video calling service was built in Elixir.
      Data warehouse
      • Built using open source tools including Presto, Spark, Airflow, Hadoop and Kafka.
      Etc
      See more
      Julien DeFrance
      Julien DeFrance
      Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter · | 16 upvotes · 501.9K views
      atSmartZipSmartZip
      Rails
      Rails
      Rails API
      Rails API
      AWS Elastic Beanstalk
      AWS Elastic Beanstalk
      Capistrano
      Capistrano
      Docker
      Docker
      Amazon S3
      Amazon S3
      Amazon RDS
      Amazon RDS
      MySQL
      MySQL
      Amazon RDS for Aurora
      Amazon RDS for Aurora
      Amazon ElastiCache
      Amazon ElastiCache
      Memcached
      Memcached
      Amazon CloudFront
      Amazon CloudFront
      Segment
      Segment
      Zapier
      Zapier
      Amazon Redshift
      Amazon Redshift
      Amazon Quicksight
      Amazon Quicksight
      Superset
      Superset
      Elasticsearch
      Elasticsearch
      Amazon Elasticsearch Service
      Amazon Elasticsearch Service
      New Relic
      New Relic
      AWS Lambda
      AWS Lambda