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Cassandra vs. MongoDB: which one should you choose

by Abraham
cassandra vs. mongodb

Cassandra and MongoDB are NoSQL databases which means that they use data structures such as graphs, wide-column, key-value, and document stores. They handle data such as unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data. Both Cassandra and MongoDB facilitate their developers to be fast and agile when running code updates.

This article has been tailored to compare the two NoSQL databases in terms of their overview, features, organizations using them, similarities, and differences. Continue reading to learn more about these NoSQL databases.

What is Cassandra?

Cassandra is a vital part of the Apache software foundation, an open-source, distributed, comprehensive column store, NoSQL database management system. It manages large volumes of data through nodes via a columnar storage architecture. The nodes are competent in reading and writing operations; hence data is replicated across many nodes. If there is a node failure, the user will be required to move to the near node with the necessary data.

If you need scalability and high performance without compromising performance, the Apache Cassandra database will be the best choice. The scalability of linear and proven fault tolerance on the commodity hardware or cloud infrastructure has made Cassandra the perfect platform for mission-critical data. Cassandra has high data availability, low failure rates, real-time analysis, and query language similar to SQL since it is compelling.

Features of Cassandra

  1. It is simple to maintain.
  2. It operates faster, and it is easy to scale.
  3. It has automatic data balancing.
  4. It has a consistent database system.
  5. There is an easy distribution of data.
  6. It is a fault-tolerant NoSQL database.
  7. It has real-time sensor data and a system for messaging.
  8. It offers advanced repair processes for reading, writing, and data consistency.
  9. It makes use of masterless ring architecture.

Advantages of Cassandra

Below are the reasons why Cassandra is a solid database management choice:

  1. It is open-source.
  2. Cassandra follows peer-to-peer architecture rather than master-slave architecture, making it have a single point of failure.
  3. It can easily be scaled down or up.
  4. It features data replication making it fault-tolerant and has high availability.
  5. It is schema-free. This means you can create columns in the rows, and its not necessary to show all the columns required to run the application.
  6. Cassandra supports hybrid cloud environments because it was designed as a distributed system to deploy various nodes across many data centers.

Drawbacks of Cassandra

Besides it being a good DB, Cassandra has its drawbacks, as highlighted below:

  1. It does not support ACID as well as relational data properties.
  2. It doesn’t offer join or subquery support.
  3. You may experience JVM memory management issues because Cassandra stores vast data.
  4. The same information is stored multiple times since the data is modeled around queries and not structure.
  5. One may get latency issues because the transactions slow down since Cassandra handles large amounts of data and requests.
  6. It does not support aggregates.
  7. It tends to be slower because it was optimized for fast writes and reading got the short end of the stick from the start.
  8. It lacks official documentation from Apache; therefore, you must look for it among third-party companies.

Companies that use Cassandra

  • Netflix
  • Facebook
  • Cisco
  • Instagram
  • twitter
  • Spotify
  • Reddit

What is MongoDB?

MongoDB is a document-oriented and non-relational (NoSQL) distributed database program used by modern application developers and the cloud era. It is an open-source document that stores data in key-value pairs. It is used to power most of the world’s innovative products and services. MongoDB has the competence to serve multiple Fortune 500 and global 500 organizations across industry segments such as education, financial, eCommerce and healthcare.

It was released in 2009, and it is an open-source database for contemporary applications and modern applications. It is written in C++, Python, JavaScript, and Go. MongoDB is quite productive, scalable and it ranges from single server deployment to large and complex infrastructures. It also produces high performances. It does not use tables and rows; instead, it comprises documents and collections. This makes it to be considered ideal for real-time analytics and high-speed logging.

Features of MongoDB

  • It has horizontal scaling and distributed storage.
  • It offers replication as well as support for various storage engines.
  • It is a schemaless database and handles faster queries through indexes.
  • It reduces input/output overload and dynamic schema for accessible data structures.
  • It is flexible, and it offers real-time data.
  • It has indexable array attributes and on-desk encryption in the enterprise version.
  • It is a nested object structure.

Advantages of MongoDB

  1. It provides support for both in-Memory as well as WiredTiger storage systems.
  2. Its schema-less database architecture makes it flexible and agile.
  3. Scaling is easy.
  4. Any attribute can be indexed.
  5. It supports database manager.
  6. Application objects do not need to be mapped or converted to database objects.

Drawbacks of MongoDB

  1. It does not have triggers, making life easier in relational database management systems.
  2. It isn’t easy to join two documents in MongoDB. You are out of luck if you need to pull data from various collections by using a single query.
  3. It automatically does not clean up the disk space; therefore, it must be manually or restarted.
  4. It requires more storage compared to other well-known databases.
  5. It does not support transactions.

Companies that use MongoDB

  1. Facebook
  2. Google
  3. Adobe
  4. PayPal
  5. Cisco
  6. Forbes
  7. The New York Times
  8. Foursquare

Similarities between MongoDB and Cassandra

The similar features between these NoSQL databases make them highly popular and competitive. Some of the similarities are:

  1. They are NoSQL databases that store large amounts of data without requiring a schema or logical category.
  2. Both are free and open-source.
  3. They support sharding horizontal partitioning.
  4. They are compatible with operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  5. Both are not replaceable to the traditional RDBMS database types.
  6. They are not compatible with normalization and consistency.
  7. Both databases have been around for over ten years, making them well established.
  8. They are downloadable databases at no extra cost, and setting these databases is easy and free.

Comparison between Cassandra and MongoDB

  1. Apache Software Foundation developed Cassandra, and it was released in July 2008, whereas MongoDB inc. Founded MongoDB and was initially released on 11th February 2009.
  2. Whereas Cassandra is written in Java, MongoDB is written in C++, Go, JavaScript, and Python.
  3. The writing scalability in Cassandra is very high and efficient, while the writing scalability is limited in MongoDB.
  4. The read performance in Cassandra is highly efficient since it takes 0 (1) time, whereas the read performance in MongoDB is not as fast compared to Cassandra.
  5. Cassandra has only cursory support for secondary indexes meaning that the secondary indexing is restricted, whereas MongoDB does support the concept of secondary indexes.
  6. Cassandra only supports JSON data format, while on the other hand, MongoDB supports both JSON and BSON data formats.
  7. The replication method Cassandra supports is the Selectable Replication Factor, and on the other hand, the replication method that MongoDB supports is Master-Slave Replication.
  8. Cassandra does not provide ACID transactions; however, it can be tuned to support ACID properties while MongoDB provides Multi-document ACID transactions with snapshot isolation.
  9. The server operating systems for Cassandra are BSD, Linux, OS X, and Windows, whereas, on the other hand, the server operating systems for MongoDB are Solaris, Linux, OS X, and Windows.
  10. Famous companies such as Hulu, Instagram, Intuit, Netflix, and Reddit use Cassandra, and other companies like Adobe, Amadeus, Lyft, ViaVarejo, and Craft base use MongoDB.
  11. Whereas Cassandra depends on third-party tools for aggregation, MongoDB has an in-built framework for aggregation.
  12. Cassandra offers high availability with almost no point of failure, while on the other hand, in MongoDB, it is easy to administer in case of any point of failure.
  13. Cassandra is free for all users, excluding the data warehouse, whereas MongoDB has different pricing models based on user needs.
  14. The Apache software foundation offers a community site with a detailed support system, whereas MongoDB community support provides details about events and webinars.
  15. Cassandra has its query language, CQL, while MongoDB supports third-party languages such as Java and python.
  16. Whereas Cassandra utilizes a vast column store, distributed architecture hence making it available, MongoDB depends on a document store, master-slave architecture with less fault tolerance.
  17. Apache licenses Cassandra, whereas AGPL and drivers by Apache license MongoDB.
  18. Cassandra uses a traditional model that has a table structure that uses rows and columns, whereas MongoDB employs an objective-oriented or data-oriented model.

Which database should you use?

The best database to be used depends on the user’s needs. If you want a database management system that offers excellent reliability despite frequent scaling and one that is easy to set up and maintain, then Cassandra is the best option. On the other hand, MongoDB is the best if you require scalability and caching of running real-time analytics. Therefore, we believe you can make the correct choice in determining the best database for your projects with this in-depth article guide.


Despite the differences between the two leading NoSQL databases, both have their quote of popularity and loyalty. It is tough to choose between the databases; therefore, organizations need to evaluate in-depth factors before deciding which one to use.

From this article, you have also seen that significant companies use these databases for their projects. Therefore, don’t shy off from trying them out. After going through this article, you should understand the differences between Cassandra and MongoDB. If the article was helpful, please give a thumbs up below. Thanks for reading.

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