VRS Technology: Databases
eLect VRS is architected using a (non-relational) NoSQL database, MongoDB Enterprise. MongoDB (and NoSQL databases in general) are increasingly being used in big data and real-time web applications. MongoDB is an ideal database for a modern voter registration system to accommodate a flexible database, performance needs, geospatial indexing, resilience, and security. The following list highlights the benefits specific for VRS:
- Flexibility for Evolving Data Requirements
NoSQL databases allow insertion of data without a predefined schema. Data can be organized and manipulated freely without the fixed restrictions of a SQL database, which enables developers to implement changes quickly without disrupting the application. This results in faster development, more reliable code integration, and improved maintainability. The inherent flexibility allows for rapid and straightforward changes to data requirements—for example, in response to changing legislation—without extensive redevelopment.
NoSQL databases are optimized for rapid querying of unstructured data. This translates into look-ahead address entry, near-instantaneous full-text searches with fuzzy logic (for example, the ability to account for minor misspellings or partial data), complex analytics, and the ability to store and manage documents directly in the database without performance impact. The rich set of integrated querying features also allow for real-time data visualization, graph processing, and analytics.
NoSQL databases scale horizontally, while traditional relational databases scale vertically. Horizontal scaling provides for flexibility to meet the increasing demands of larger voter databases simply by adding more instances. The database then automatically distributes the load by spreading the data across these replicas as necessary.
MongoDB Enterprise supports built-in AES-256 encryption at the database level with virtually no performance degradation.
- Availability and Disaster Recovery
MongoDB supports automatic database replication to maintain availability in the event of outages or planned maintenance events, and are fully self-healing. These databases offer automated failover and recovery and the ability to distribute the database across multiple geographic regions to enable data localization to withstand regional failures in the event of a disaster.
For systems such as voter registration where performance, high availability and flexibility are vitally important, MongoDB is a great choice for building a modern platform.