One of MongoDB’s best capabilities is its support for dynamic (ad hoc) queries. Systems that support dynamic queries don’t require any special indexing to find data; users can find data using any criteria. For relational databases, dynamic queries are the norm. If you’re moving to MongoDB from a relational databases, you’ll find that many SQL queries translate easily to MongoDB’s document-based query language.
MongoDB supports asynchronous replication of data between servers for failover and redundancy. Only one server (in the set/shard) is active for writes (the primary, or master) at a given time – this is to allow strong consistent (atomic) operations. One can optionally send read operations to the secondaries when eventual consistency semantics are acceptable.
Each shard of a Mongo cluster is a replica set.
Indexes enhance query performance, often dramatically. It’s important to think about the kinds of queries your application will need so that you can define relevant indexes. Once that’s done, actually creating the indexes in MongoDB is relatively easy.
Indexes in MongoDB are conceptually similar to those in RDBMSes like MySQL. You will want an index in MongoDB in the same sort of situations where you would have wanted an index in MySQL.
See more on http://www.mongodb.org/display/DOCS/Indexes
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