Fix This Page
Navigation

Segmenting Data by Location

On this page

MongoDB Tag Aware Sharding allows administrators to control data distribution in a sharded cluster by defining ranges of the shard key and tagging them to one or more shards.

This tutorial uses Tag Aware Sharding to segment data based on geographic area.

The following are some example use cases for segmenting data by geographic area:

  • An application that requires segmenting user data based on geographic country
  • A database that requires resource allocation based on geographic country

The following diagram illustrates a sharded cluster that uses geographic based shard tags to manage and satisfy data segmentation requirements.

Diagram of tag aware geo distribution

Scenario

A financial chat application logs messages, tracking the country of the originating user. The application stores the logs in the chat database under the messages collection. The chats contain information that must be segmented by country to have servers local to the country serve read and write requests for the country’s users. A group of countries can be assigned same tag in order to share resources.

The application currently has users in the US, UK, and Germany. The country field represents the user’s country based on its ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 two-character country codes.

The following documents represent a partial view of three chat messages:

{
  "_id" : ObjectId("56f08c447fe58b2e96f595fa"),
  "country" : "US",
  "userid" : 123,
  "message" : "Hello there",
  ...,
}
{
  "_id" : ObjectId("56f08c447fe58b2e96f595fb"),
  "country" : "UK",
  "userid" : 456,
  "message" : "Good Morning"
  ...,
}
{
  "_id" : ObjectId("56f08c447fe58b2e96f595fc"),
  "country" : "DE",
  "userid" : 789,
  "message" : "Guten Tag"
  ...,
}

Shard Key

The messages collection uses the { country : 1, userid : 1 } compound index as the shard key.

The country field in each document allows for creating a tag range on each distinct country value.

The userid field provides a high cardinality and low frequency component to the shard key relative to country.

See Choosing a Shard Key for more general instructions on selecting a shard key.

Architecture

The sharded cluster has shards in two data centers - one in Europe, and one in North America.

Diagram of tag aware geo distribution architecture

Tags

This application requires one tag per data center.

EU - European data center

Shards deployed on this data center are tagged as EU.

For each country using the EU data center for local reads and writes, create a tag range with:

  • a lower bound of { "country" : <country>, "userid" : MinKey }
  • an upper bound of { "country" : <country>, "userid" : MaxKey }
NA - North American data center

Shards deployed on this data center are tagged as NA.

For each country using the NA data center for local reads and writes, create a tag range with:

  • a lower bound of { "country" : <country>, "userid" : MinKey }
  • an upper bound of { "country" : <country>, "userid" : MaxKey }

Note

The MinKey and MaxKey values are reserved special values for comparisons

Write Operations

With tag-aware sharding, the mongos compares incoming documents against any configured tag ranges. If a document matches a configured tag range, mongos routes the document to a shard with the appropriate tag.

On insert, MongoDB can route documents that do not match a configured tag range to any shard in the cluster.

Read Operations

MongoDB can route queries to a specific shard if the query includes at least the country field.

For example, MongoDB can attempt a targeted read operation on the following query:

chatDB = db.getSiblingDB("chat")
chatDB.messages.find( { "country" : "UK" , "userid" : "123" } )

Queries without the country field perform broadcast operations.

Balancer

The balancer migrates the tagged chunks to the appropriate shard. Until the migration, shards may contain chunks that violate configured tag ranges and tags. Once balancing completes, shards should only contain chunks whose ranges do not violate its assigned tags and tag ranges.

Adding or removing tags or tag ranges can result in chunk migrations. Depending on the size of your data set and the number of chunks a tag range affects, these migrations may impact cluster performance. Consider running your balancer during specific scheduled windows. See Schedule the Balancing Window for a tutorial on how to set a scheduling window.

Security

For sharded clusters running with Role-Based Access Control, authenticate as a user with at least the clusterManager role on the admin database.

Procedure

You must be connected to a mongos to create tags and tag ranges. You cannot create tags by connecting directly to a shard.

1

Disable the Balancer (Optional)

To reduce performance impacts, the balancer may be disabled on the collection to ensure no migrations take place while configuring the new tags.

Use sh.disableBalancing(), specifying the namespace of the collection, to stop the balancer.

sh.disableBalancing("chat.message")

Use sh.isBalancerRunning() to check if the balancer process is currently running. Wait until any current balancing rounds have completed before proceeding.

2

Tag each shard

Tag each shard in the North American data center with the NA tag.

sh.addShardTag(<shard name>, "NA")

Tag each shard in the European data center with the EU tag.

sh.addShardTag(<shard name>, "EU")

You can review the tags assigned to any given shard by running sh.status().

3

Define ranges for each tag

For shard key values where country : US, define a shard key range and associate it to the NA tag using the sh.addTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.addTagRange(
  "chat.messages",
  { "country" : "US", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "US", "userid" : MaxKey },
  "NA"
)

For shard key values where country : UK, define a shard key range and associate it to the EU tag using the sh.addTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.addTagRange(
  "chat.messages",
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MaxKey },
  "EU"
)

For shard key values where country : DE, define a shard key range and associate it to the EU tag using the sh.addTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.addTagRange(
  "chat.messages",
  { "country" : "DE", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "DE", "userid" : MaxKey },
  "EU"
)

The MinKey and MaxKey values are reserved special value for comparisons. MinKey always compares as lower than every other possible value, while MaxKey always compares as higher than every other possible value. The configured ranges captures every user for each device.

Both country : UK and country : DE are assigned to the EU tag. This associates any document with either UK or DE as the value for country to the EU data center.

4

Enable the Balancer (Optional)

If the balancer was disabled in previous steps, re-enable the balancer at the completion of this procedure to rebalance the cluster.

Use sh.enableBalancing(), specifying the namespace of the collection, to start the balancer.

sh.enableBalancing("chat.message")

Use sh.isBalancerRunning() to check if the balancer process is currently running.

5

Review the Changes

The next time the balancer runs, it splits chunks where necessary and migrates chunks across the shards respecting the tag ranges and tags.

Once balancing finishes, the shards tagged as NA should only contain documents with country : NA, while shards tagged as EU should only contain documents with country : UK or country : DE.

A document with a value for country other than NA, UK, or DE can reside on any shard in the cluster.

You can confirm the chunk distribution by running sh.status().

Updating Tags

The application requires the following updates:

  • Documents with country : UK must now be associated to the new UK data center. Any data in the EU data center must be migrated
  • The chat application now supports users in Mexico. Documents with country : MX must be routed to the NA data center.

Perform the following procedures to update the tag ranges.

1

Disable the Balancer (Optional)

To reduce performance impacts, the balancer may be disabled on the collection to ensure no migrations take place while configuring the new tags or removing the old ones.

Use sh.disableBalancing(), specifying the namespace of the collection, to stop the balancer

sh.disableBalancing("chat.messages")

Use sh.isBalancerRunning() to check if the balancer process is currently running. Wait until any current balancing rounds have completed before proceeding.

2

Add the new UK tag

Tag each shard in the UK data center with the UK tag

sh.addShardTag("<shard name>", "UK")

You can review the tags assigned to any given shard by running sh.status().

3

Remove the old tag range

Remove the old tag range associated to the UK country using the sh.removeTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.removeTagRange(
  "chat.messages",
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MaxKey }
  "EU"
)
4

Add new tag ranges

For shard key values where country : UK, define a shard key range and associate it to the UK tag using the sh.addTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.addTagRange(
  "chat.message",
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "UK", "userid" : MaxKey },
  "UK"
)

For shard key values where country : MX, define a shard key range and associate it to the NA tag using the sh.addTagRange() method. This method requires:

  • The full namespace of the target collection.
  • The inclusive lower bound of the range.
  • The exclusive upper bound of the range.
  • The name of the tag.
sh.addTagRange(
  "chat.messages",
  { "country" : "MX", "userid" : MinKey },
  { "country" : "MX", "userid" : MaxKey },
  "NA"
)

The MinKey and MaxKey values are reserved special values for comparisons. MinKey always compares as lower than every other possible value, while MaxKey always compares as higher than every other possible value. This ensures the two ranges captures the entire possible value space of creation_date.

5

Enable the Balancer (Optional)

If the balancer was disabled in previous steps, re-enable the balancer at the completion of this procedure to rebalance the cluster.

Use sh.enableBalancing(), specifying the namespace of the collection, to start the balancer

sh.enableBalancing("chat.messages")

Use sh.isBalancerRunning() to check if the balancer process is currently running.

6

Review the changes

The next time the balancer runs, it splits chunks where necessary and migrates chunks across the shards respecting the tag ranges and tags.

Before balancing, the shards tagged as EU only contained documents where country : DE or country : UK. Documents with the country : MX could be stored on any shard in the sharded cluster.

After balancing, the shards tagged as EU should only contain documents where country : DE, while shards tagged as UK should only contain documents where country : UK. Additionally, shards tagged as NA should only contain documents where country : US or country : MX.

A document with a value for country other than NA, MX, UK, or DE can reside on any shard in the cluster.

You can confirm the chunk distribution by running sh.status().