MongoDB: The Powerhouse Behind Personalized, Reliable and Fast Web Experiences

By Aditya Pandurangan 4 min read

Digital users need experiences that feel like real-life interactions: immediate and unique. This level of personalization requires:

1. Large quantities of data.

For example, users need real-time data from multiple sources and rich media, delivered in a customized manner.

2. Agile systems that promptly respond to user actions.

This requires such data-related transactions as the tracking of known and unknown visitors to a website, the secure sharing of a contact’s activity history across authorized systems, and the consolidation of records of omnichannel events into centralized platforms.

Personalized digital experiences also require an increased capacity for analytics, since such data is necessary to optimize users’ online activities.

Database provider MongoDB is a key player in this solution landscape. Built on a highly available, scalable and distributed architecture that supports write-intensive operations, MongoDB comes with a bulk of features that support the current customer experience solutions.

MongoDB supports the data-rich transactions required for personalized experiences on the web

To provide up-to-the-minute personalized experiences based on past habits and browsing history, a content management system (CMS) must capture a large amount of data around each action or click on a user, and process that data in real time.

When a user browses through the site, he generates a continuous flow of information on clicks, mouse-overs, form submissions and page visits, which must be written to the backend. The CMS then interprets this data to anticipate actions the user might take, provide the user with the results he requests, and “guide“ him toward the same goals set for the site. From a database perspective, these are write-intensive operations.

As more and more write-intensive operations are required, technologists must leverage a more sophisticated database architecture that is designed to support write-intensive operations, such as that offered by MongoDB.

MongoDB offers the stability required for business-critical websites

Business-critical sites are those that have a direct impact on the core functions or revenue-generating capabilities of an organization. For such sites, being down for even a few seconds can be catastrophic, resulting in long-term loss of customers, brand damage or legal liability. In applications like commerce, business and healthcare services, or publishing and media-rich sites, a 99.999% uptime (a stable, high level of availability) is particularly critical.

In order for a business-critical site to be highly available, it must have redundancy and disaster recovery procedures in place for all of its components. MongoDB recommends the use of a 5-node cluster configuration to achieve high availability. The nodes will be spread across three data centers. The primary data center will contain the primary node and a secondary node. The secondary data center contains two secondary nodes and a tertiary data center contains a single secondary node.

MongoDB has also built intelligent logic within its drivers to facilitate automatic routing of traffic from the application front end to the primary instance. If the primary node goes down, the driver will automatically find the new “primary” node and start routing requests to it without a need for any additional configuration.

MongoDB addresses the need for responsiveness in the CMS

Speed is an essential part of a great website experience. Imagine the impact of a slow or non-responsive interface on the following business-critical sites: an online retailer in a highly competitive consumer products category, a travel reservations site for an airline, or a healthcare provider delivering patient care via virtual medical appointments.

Speed – more accurately described as responsiveness – is the round trip time (RTT) for a page request to be fulfilled for a user.

MongoDB is an ideal database when the CMS requirements include responsiveness because MongoDB supports distributed architecture and the use of sharding and replication.

“Distributed architecture” refers to the ability of the application to facilitate load distribution, which drives quicker responsiveness. Traditional systems are great at distributing the load of reads but are not so great at distributing writes. MongoDB uses the database partitioning technique called “sharding,” which provides the ability to split the data sets across instances and assign a “primary” instance for a specific shard.

The most common use cases involve global applications requiring global reads and local writes for high responsiveness or multiple business units using a shared infrastructure. If the architecture is distributed regionally, the shard specific to a region exists in a data center near that region, and the writes are performed locally (“local writes”). This provides better response times than configuring a database so that writes must travel from one region to another far away (such as writing from North America to Asia).

MongoDB provides a stable foundation for business-critical, high-traffic sites that cannot afford slower speeds. Lack of responsiveness will ruin the user experience, increase bounce rates and decrease time on site, thereby costing revenue and reflecting poorly on a brand.

Get the Most Out of Sitecore, AEM and Other WCM Systems With MongoDB

The best CMS architecture in the world cannot accomplish much if your site crashes, lags or offers an unremarkable, generic experience.

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Aditya Pandurangan

Written By

Aditya Pandurangan

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