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Couchbase vs Memcached: What are the differences?

Key Differences between Couchbase and Memcached

Couchbase and Memcached are both in-memory data management systems but have a few key differences that set them apart.

  1. Data Persistence: Couchbase provides data persistence with its built-in storage engine, while Memcached does not have native persistence capabilities. This means that when the server is restarted, Couchbase retains the data, whereas Memcached must reload data from an external source, like a database.

  2. Query Language and Indexing: Couchbase offers a querying language called N1QL (SQL for JSON), which allows for flexible querying and indexing of data. On the other hand, Memcached does not support query capabilities, requiring developers to retrieve data by using explicit keys.

  3. Data Replication and High Availability: While both Couchbase and Memcached support high availability, Couchbase provides built-in data replication features, allowing automatic synchronization and failover across multiple nodes. Memcached, however, relies on external tools or custom implementations to achieve the same level of data replication and high availability.

  4. Scalability: Couchbase supports horizontal scaling, allowing for the addition of more nodes as data grows. It uses a distributed architecture to ensure data is evenly distributed across nodes for improved performance and capacity. In comparison, Memcached does not offer built-in support for horizontal scaling, limiting the ability to handle larger data sets or increased traffic.

  5. Flexible Data Model: Couchbase embraces a document data model, storing data in JSON format, which allows for complex structures and supports schema flexibility. In contrast, Memcached is designed to store simple key-value pairs, providing a more limited data model in terms of data structure and schema flexibility.

  6. Integration Ecosystem: Couchbase provides a comprehensive integration ecosystem with connectors and support for various programming languages, frameworks, and integrations with other technologies. Memcached, while widely adopted, has a more limited integration ecosystem compared to Couchbase.

In Summary, Couchbase offers advanced features such as data persistence, query language, data replication, and scalability, making it suitable for more complex and demanding use cases. Memcached, on the other hand, excels in simplicity, cache performance, and ease of use, making it a popular choice for straightforward key-value caching scenarios.

Advice on Couchbase and Memcached
Ilias Mentzelos
Software Engineer at Plum Fintech · | 9 upvotes · 235.3K views
Needs advice

Hey, we want to build a referral campaign mechanism that will probably contain millions of records within the next few years. We want fast read access based on IDs or some indexes, and isolation is crucial as some listeners will try to update the same document at the same time. What's your suggestion between Couchbase and MongoDB? Thanks!

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Replies (2)
Jon Clarke
Enterprise Account Exec at ScyllaDB · | 4 upvotes · 84.5K views

I am biased (work for Scylla) but it sounds like a KV/wide column would be better in this use case. Document/schema free/lite DBs data stores are easier to get up and running on but are not as scalable (generally) as NoSQL flavors that require a more rigid data model like ScyllaDB. If your data volumes are going to be 10s of TB and transactions per sec 10s of 1000s (or more), look at Scylla. We have something called lightweight transactions (LWT) that can get you consistency.

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I have found MongoDB highly consistent and highly available. It suits your needs. We usually trade off partion tolerance fot this. Having said that, I am little biased in recommendation as I haven't had much experience with couchbase on production.

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Needs advice

We Have thousands of .pdf docs generated from the same form but with lots of variability. We need to extract data from open text and more important - from tables inside the docs. The output of Couchbase/Mongo will be one row per document for backend processing. ADOBE renders the tables in an unusable form.

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Replies (3)
Petr Havlicek
Freelancer at · | 12 upvotes · 207.5K views

I prefer MongoDB due to own experience with migration of old archive of pdf and meta-data to a new “archive”. The biggest advantage is speed of filters output - a new archive is way faster and reliable then the old one - but also the the easy programming of MongoDB with many code snippets and examples available. I have no personal experience so far with Couchbase. From the architecture point of view both options are OK - go for the one you like.

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Ivan Begtin
Director - NGO "Informational Culture" / Ambassador - OKFN Russia at Infoculture · | 7 upvotes · 207.6K views

I would like to suggest MongoDB or ArangoDB (can't choose both, so ArangoDB). MongoDB is more mature, but ArangoDB is more interesting if you will need to bring graph database ideas to solution. For example if some data or some documents are interlinked, then probably ArangoDB is a best solution.

To process tables we used Abbyy software stack. It's great on table extraction.

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OtkudznamDamir Radinović-Lukić

If you can select text with mouse drag in PDF. Use pdftotext it is fast! You can install it on server with command "apt-get install poppler-utils". Use it like "pdftotext -layout /path-to-your-file". In same folder it will make text file with line by line content. There is few classes on git stacks that you can use, also.

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Decisions about Couchbase and Memcached
Gabriel Pa

After using couchbase for over 4 years, we migrated to MongoDB and that was the best decision ever! I'm very disappointed with Couchbase's technical performance. Even though we received enterprise support and were a listed Couchbase Partner, the experience was horrible. With every contact, the sales team was trying to get me on a $7k+ license for access to features all other open source NoSQL databases get for free.

Here's why you should not use Couchbase

Full-text search Queries The full-text search often returns a different number of results if you run the same query multiple types

N1QL queries Configuring the indexes correctly is next to impossible. It's poorly documented and nobody seems to know what to do, even the Couchbase support engineers have no clue what they are doing.

Community support I posted several problems on the forum and I never once received a useful answer

Enterprise support It's very expensive. $7k+. The team constantly tried to get me to buy even though the community edition wasn't working great

Autonomous Operator It's actually just a poorly configured Kubernetes role that no matter what I did, I couldn't get it to work. The support team was useless. Same lack of documentation. If you do get it to work, you need 6 servers at least to meet their minimum requirements.

Couchbase cloud Typical for Couchbase, the user experience is awful and I could never get it to work.

Minimum requirements The minimum requirements in production are 6 servers. On AWS the calculated monthly cost would be ~$600. We achieved better performance using a $16 MongoDB instance on the Mongo Atlas Cloud

writing queries is a nightmare While N1QL is similar to SQL and it's easier to write because of the familiarity, that isn't entirely true. The "smart index" that Couchbase advertises is not smart at all. Creating an index with 5 fields, and only using 4 of them won't result in Couchbase using the same index, so you have to create a new one.

Couchbase UI The UI that comes with every database deployment is full of bugs, barely functional and the developer experience is poor. When I asked Couchbase about it, they basically said they don't care because real developers use SQL directly from code

Consumes too much RAM Couchbase is shipped with a smaller Memcached instance to handle the in-memory cache. Memcached ends up using 8 GB of RAM for 5000 documents! I'm not kidding! We had less than 5000 docs on a Couchbase instance and less than 20 indexes and RAM consumption was always over 8 GB

Memory allocations are useless I asked the Couchbase team a question: If a bucket has 1 GB allocated, what happens when I have more than 1GB stored? Does it overflow? Does it cache somewhere? Do I get an error? I always received the same answer: If you buy the Couchbase enterprise then we can guide you.

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Gabriel Pa

We implemented our first large scale EPR application from using CouchDB .

Very fast, replication works great, doesn't consume much RAM, queries are blazing fast but we found a problem: the queries were very hard to write, it took a long time to figure out the API, we had to go and write our own @nodejs library to make it work properly.

It lost most of its support. Since then, we migrated to Couchbase and the learning curve was steep but all worth it. Memcached indexing out of the box, full text search works great.

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Pros of Couchbase
Pros of Memcached
  • 18
    High performance
  • 18
    Flexible data model, easy scalability, extremely fast
  • 9
    Mobile app support
  • 7
    You can query it with Ansi-92 SQL
  • 6
    All nodes can be read/write
  • 5
    Equal nodes in cluster, allowing fast, flexible changes
  • 5
    Both a key-value store and document (JSON) db
  • 5
    Open source, community and enterprise editions
  • 4
    Automatic configuration of sharding
  • 4
    Local cache capability
  • 3
    Easy setup
  • 3
    Linearly scalable, useful to large number of tps
  • 3
    Easy cluster administration
  • 3
    Cross data center replication
  • 3
    SDKs in popular programming languages
  • 3
    Elasticsearch connector
  • 3
    Web based management, query and monitoring panel
  • 2
    Map reduce views
  • 2
    DBaaS available
  • 2
  • 1
    Buckets, Scopes, Collections & Documents
  • 1
    FTS + SQL together
  • 139
    Fast object cache
  • 129
  • 91
  • 65
  • 33
    Distributed caching system
  • 11
    Improved response time and throughput
  • 3
    Great for caching HTML
  • 2

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Cons of Couchbase
Cons of Memcached
  • 3
    Terrible query language
  • 2
    Only caches simple types

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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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Dec 22 2020 at 9:26PM


Amazon EC2C langMemcached+4
Jun 6 2019 at 5:11PM


What are some alternatives to Couchbase and Memcached?
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.
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.
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 is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis provides data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs, geospatial indexes, and streams.
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