I have heard that Mongo has something like phantom writes. For example, if I have a web request with the following db commands in a single unit of work:

a) update comments in article
b) update article attributes
c) update users comment_field


  1. Is it possible that only a and c execute, and b fails or never gets to the database?
  2. Is it possible that only a and b execute, and c fails or never gets to the database?

Where can I read some more in regards to this, or is it just a myth?

  • I'm not a Mongo person, but per their docs atomicity is only guaranteed within a single document. If you have operations on multiple documents one set can fail and another can succeed. – JNK May 7 '13 at 16:41
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    Lack of transactions and lack of consistency are two of the things that separate NoSQL solutions from RDBMS - it's a lot faster to write with high concurrency if you have looser controls on the data. – JNK May 7 '13 at 16:42
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    Would it be inappropriate for me to throw in an observation along the lines of "Who needs consistency, MongoDB is web scale!"? – Mark Storey-Smith May 7 '13 at 22:29
  • Ha ha...great video. I wasn't aware that data is not written into the database just put in a "queue"-ish. Thx – Kamilski81 May 9 '13 at 15:36

Just to answer my question, in case people come across it:

1) Yes, it is possible for A, and C to be committed and B to fail. Atomicity only exists on documents in MongoDB. 2) Yes, this is possible as well.

See more for reading here:


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