Distributed Databases with Aly Cabral

Modern databases consist of multiple servers that host the data in a distributed fashion. Using multiple servers allows a database to be resilient to the failure of any one database node, because copies of the data are shared to other servers. A multi-node setup also lets the database grow beyond the size of data that could be hosted on a single node.

Although a distributed database gains in scalability and resiliency, a database that runs across multiple nodes has a variety of problems that are not faced by a database running on a single node. Every operation with a distributed database becomes more complex than the single-node database.

For example, if you make a query to your distributed database, you might not be able to rely on the answer that you get from a single database node, because the other database nodes might have been involved in transactions that have not propagated to all of the nodes.

Aly Cabral is a lead product manager at MongoDB and co-author of a paper on causal consistency in MongoDB. Aly joins the show to discuss the engineering of distributed databases and her experience architecting MongoDB. Full disclosure: MongoDB is a sponsor of Software Engineering Daily.

Sponsorship inquiries: sponsor@softwareengineeringdaily.com

Check out our active companies and projects:

  • FindCollabs is a place to find collaborators and build projects. Find a project to work on
  • Podsheets is an open source podcast hosting platform built with the learnings from Software Engineering Daily. Our goal is to be the best place to host and monetize your podcast. If you have been thinking about starting a podcast, check out podsheets.com.
  • The SEDaily app for iOS and Android includes all 1000 of our old episodes, as well as related links, greatest hits, and topics. Subscribe for ad-free episodes.


Transcript provided by We Edit Podcasts. Software Engineering Daily listeners can go to weeditpodcasts.com/sed to get 20% off the first two months of audio editing and transcription services. Thanks to We Edit Podcasts for partnering with SE Daily. Please click here to view this show’s transcript.

Software Daily

Software Daily

Subscribe to Software Daily, a curated newsletter featuring the best and newest from the software engineering community.