MongoDB Case Study: Wordnik and Verizon Wireless

Priyanka Hajare
6 min readMay 25, 2021


Before going to see MongoDB case study of Wordnik ,let’s have a look on some basic and important information of MongoDB.

🔰 MongoDB

MongoDB is a document-oriented NoSQL database used for high volume data storage. Instead of using tables and rows as in the traditional relational databases, MongoDB makes use of collections and documents.

Documents consist of key-value pairs which are the basic unit of data in MongoDB. Collections contain sets of documents and function which is the equivalent of relational database tables. MongoDB is a database which came into light around the mid-2000s.

🔰 MongoDB Features

  1. Each database contains collections which in turn contains documents. Each document can be different with a varying number of fields. The size and content of each document can be different from each other.
  2. The document structure is more in line with how developers construct their classes and objects in their respective programming languages. Developers will often say that their classes are not rows and columns but have a clear structure with key-value pairs.
  3. The rows (or documents as called in MongoDB) doesn’t need to have a schema defined beforehand. Instead, the fields can be created on the fly.
  4. The data model available within MongoDB allows you to represent hierarchical relationships, to store arrays, and other more complex structures more easily.

🔰 How Industries are getting benifitted by using MongoDB

1. MongoDB case study: Wordnik

At six times the size of the Oxford English Dictionary, Wordnik helps bring words to life by showing the conversations happening around them. Because Wordnik relies on data from real-time web posts, they needed a reliable and performance-tested database solution.

🔶 Why and how Wordnik migrated from MySQL to MongoDB ?

In 2009, Wordnik engineers realized that their existing MySQL data store couldn’t keep pace with the user-generated content which constantly expanded the site’s dictionary. The engineers created a prototype to test MongoDB, migrating five billion records to the non-relational database in a single day. Over the course of the next month, the entire database was migrated to MongoDB under the watchful eyes of a single developer.

🔶 How Wordnik getting benifitted nowdays by using MongoDB ?

MongoDB now handles every site request sent to Wordnik — often over 20 million API calls per day, from millions of unique users each month. Under their previous MySQL system, Wordnik’s IT engineers frequently dealt with locked tables and outages when too much data was added at once; using MongoDB as a non-relational database solution has eliminated the problem, and the system handles bursts of as many as 50,000 words per second during busy periods without breaking a sweat. For Wordnik’s engineers, life with MongoDB has meant faster data retrieval and 75% less code.

2. MongoDB case study: Verizon Wireless

🔶 How And Why Verizon Wireless Chose MongoDB

Even small organizations struggle with change. But imagine that you have 103 million retail customers, roughly 1700 retail locations to serve them, and $81 billion in revenues at stake. Change necessarily comes hard to a company of that scale and reach.

But change is precisely what Verizon Wireless increasingly enables using MongoDB.

The Times They Are a-Changing

In an organization the size of Verizon Wireless, the business needs are constantly growing and changing, as Shivinder Singh, Senior Systems Architect at Verizon Wireless, told an audience at MongoDB World 2014. These forces push Verizon Wireless to explore new and innovative ways to process manage its data as it seeks to drive greater customer value for its customers.

One of those “new and innovative ways” is MongoDB, which helps Verizon Wireless get greater value from its data while simultaneously accelerating time-to-market and improving its asset utilization.

As the company looks to augment its existing technologies, however, there’s always a fair amount of trepidation, not to mention the ever-looming question: why can’t we just do this with the technologies we already own and/or know?

Data is changing. The world of relational databases at times doesn’t fit the new world of unstructured or semi-structured data.

Traditional technologies which at times would require a dedicated resource weeks to setup a environment could be achieved fairly quick with MongoDB. In a certain case, with MongoDB Verizon Wireless was “able to do that in two hours.”

Even so, Verizon Wireless discovered that one of the biggest challenges in moving to MongoDB was to “unlearn” RDBMS concepts and change the mindset to embrace new MongoDB and NoSQL concepts.

But they’re getting ahead of themselves here.

🔶 How did Verizon Wireless start using MongoDB?

Verizon Wireless opted to start small with MongoDB, though it did try before it bought, one of the cardinal virtues of open source. The company decided to augment its employee portal, a business critical application that is “basically the homepage of anyone who works for Verizon.”

The existing portal was good, but Verizon Wireless wanted to build in new functionality to capture social feeds from Twitter and Facebook and display it specific to that user.

Not so easy for a relational database.

Originally the development team put MongoDB through its paces, first running a proof of concept and then rolling it out. They didn’t have anyone dedicated to supporting it, however, so the development team asked Singh’s team to support it.

To bring himself up-to-speed with MongoDB, Singh took the route that over 200,000 other people have taken: MongoDB’s free online training.

As he describes it, within two days he was at a level that he could comfortably manage MongoDB. Within just two weeks he had re-architected Verizon Wireless’ entire development set-up to be in a replicated cluster versus a standalone cluster.

He then proceeded to test and break the cluster, recover it, test the recovery, test failover capabilities and more.

But Singh wasn’t done yet.

🔶 Putting The MongoDB Team To The Test

Going with a new technology can be risky, but choosing a new technology vendor to support is perhaps even more so. To minimize that risk, Singh decided to put MongoDB — the company — to the test. So Singh did what any other conscientious would-be buyer would do:

He faked his death.

Well, not his death, per se, but the death of his server (along with the secondary data center, just to make things doubly interesting). Of course MongoDB would quickly respond to a marquee customer like Verizon Wireless, however, so he also faked his identity, using an email address.

In other words, MongoDB’s support team got a call from some no-name person with a generic email address claiming “my-server-is-down-the-world-is-on-fire-someone-help-me-NOW!”

Within “a short period of time” MongoDB had assembled its engineers to resolve the issue and get Verizon Wireless back on track. Only then did the MongoDB team learn the real identity of Singh and win the deal.

🔶 The Future Of MongoDB At Verizon Wireless

Looking forward, Verizon Wireless has already started a new proof of concept for an online log management system. Not surprisingly, Verizon has “some huge servers, some huge clusters, and all of them generate a huge amount of log data.”

Given Verizon Wireless’ data volumes, it also is looking for ways to pair MongoDB with Hadoop to leverage the strengths of both together. The company has been evaluating the MongoDB Connector for Hadoop.

As Verizon Wireless moves forward, Singh notes that MongoDB is appropriate for “quite a lot” of its new use cases, and is therefore being evaluated for these new use cases alongside its traditional RDBMSes. That’s a big change for a Fortune 50 enterprise, but Singh believes it’s necessary to help the company grow and evolve to meet customer needs.

Thank you for reading …!