Couchbase Mobile Eliminates Network Dependency for Mobile Applications

NoSQL database provider Couchbase has released Couchbase Mobile, a new suite of products that combines mobile data synchronization and a native NoSQL mobile database. By allowing developers to run a full-featured mobile JSON database locally on devices, Couchbase Mobile is designed to eliminate the network connection as a limitation for application features in order to meet the always-on expectations of today’s users.

Couchbase Mobile Consolidates Key Features

Software and hardware systems tend to be developed as discrete systems at the beginning and then consolidated as they mature, said Rahim Yaseen, Couchbase senior vice president, products & engineering. A good example is the iPhone, which consolidates a camera, GPS device, phone and PDA all within one package, and this same approach can be applied in the database world, said Yaseen. Couchbase Mobile applies this approach with a fast caching tier, a key value database, a document database, and a sync gateway tier. "We have taken all these layers and consolidated them into one powerful offering so that customers get simplicaty and performance at scale, and then we have added in moible because increasingly data is being captured on mobile devices."

The problem Couchbase sees with current mobile applications is that they store their data in the cloud and are very dependent on the network, as well as tied to the responsiveness of the network, added Couchbase chief mobile architect Wayne Carter. “Our goal is to produce a product that allows mobile applications to be built in a way that makes them always available, whether or not you have a network connection, and always responsive, whether or not the network connection is fast or available,” said Carter.

Couchbase Mobile includes three components, Couchbase Lite, Couchbase Sync Gateway, and Couchbase Server.

  1. Couchbase Lite - a full featured, flexible mobile JSON database that runs locally on the device and is built from the ground up to support mobile applications. Couchbase Lite has a lightweight footprint with a 500k download size that delivers the functionality of Couchbase Server, as well as unique mobile capabilities for offline support, multi-master replication and conflict resolution. Additionally, Couchbase Lite secures data on the device via File System Encryption and during transport using SSL. In this 1.0 release, Couchbase Lite has native support for iOS, Native OSX, Android, and Portable Java that can run anything that runs a JS2E-compliant JVM, Linux and Windows. Couchbase is also announcing a beta for a .NET version of Couchbase Lite, said Carter.
  2. Couchbase Sync Gateway - enables replication between Couchbase Lite and Couchbase Server - and handles user authentication and authorization, access control, data routing through fine grained filter controls that manage data synced for each user, update validation, and multi-master replication between Couchbase Server and mobile client devices. Couchbase Sync Gateway can be used to push and pull data to and from Couchbase Server, or to support peer to peer synchronization between Couchbase Lite.
  3. For mobile applications that will be syncing data to a back-end server, Couchbase Server provides a NoSQL database built on a flexible JSON model. Couchbase Server makes it easy to modify applications without the constraints of a fixed database schema and delivers high-throughput reads and writes for consistent high performance.

Enabling New Applications

“This is really about enabling applications that could not exist and industries and companies that could not exist because the hurdle was just too high without this type of technology,” said Carter. For example, he said, Microsoft is using Couchbase Live without Sync Gateway in a new experimental project that has a web browser that lives on the edge of the network and it is completely peer to peer. It does not use the cloud to store data and the devices share the data with each other. Microsoft will presenting the project at the HTML5 developer conference, but it would have taken the company years to develop it without Couchbase Mobile, said Carter.