Migrating to MongoDB Atlas

mLab is now part of MongoDB, Inc., the company behind the database that powers your application(s). For background please read our announcement on October 9, 2018.

As part of merging the two organizations we will be sunsetting mLab’s service and migrating all users to MongoDB Atlas.

Migration Timing and Details

mLab and MongoDB Atlas are currently working together to do the following:

We are planning to start notifying users in July 2019 and have databases migrated to MongoDB Atlas by the end of October 2019. If you want to migrate sooner see the section below about migrating early.

In the meantime rest assured that your database deployment(s) and all of our services will operate as usual, and you will be provided with plenty of advance notice on any action that may be required of you.


Q. Does Atlas have similar management tools/features that mLab has?

Feature-wise, the two MongoDB-as-a-Service products are more similar than they are different. Some capabilities that may be new to mLab users include cross-region replication; geographic data distribution via Global Clusters; enterprise security features such as encryption key management, granular database auditing, and LDAP support; and tight integration with the MongoDB Connector for Business Intelligence (BI).

mLab’s engineering team is being integrated into the greater MongoDB engineering organization, and we look forward to working on new features together.

Note that some functionality is different on Atlas. For example, you will not be able to take mongodump-based backups that upload to your own S3 container, but you will be able to achieve a similar end-goal using Atlas’ features.

Q. Can I migrate early to Atlas?

If you need to migrate to Atlas early (instead of waiting for the completion of the two work streams described above in the “Migration Timing and Details” section), that is generally possible although it will not be quite as easy as if you were to wait.

Be aware that:

Before migrating:

We recommend that you review the migration prerequisites below before migrating.

How to migrate early:

Migrating to Atlas will require a connection string change, but if you have a for-pay mLab deployment and your target Atlas cluster is running on the Atlas M10 or above, you’ll be able to perform a migration with minimal downtime to your application.

For detailed instructions on how to migrate early, email support@mlab.com with your mLab account name.

Q. Should I migrate early to Atlas?

We recommend migrating early to Atlas if:

Q. Are there prerequisites for migrating?

Yes there are prerequisites for migrating:

  1. Ensure minimum required versions:
  2. Ensure that all recurring query patterns are well-indexed. If your deployment is on a Shared or Dedicated plan visit the “Slow Queries” tab to view and build the indexes recommended by mLab’s Slow Queries Analyzer. This will allow for a smoother migration process.
  3. Review the following key differences between mLab and Atlas:
    • Atlas plans are packaged differently than mLab’s in that clusters, backups, data transfer, and support are priced separately.
    • The Atlas M0 (free) tier does not support Atlas backups. The Atlas M2 and M5 tiers currently do not support Atlas backups but should starting June 2019.
    • Atlas currently does not have a Heroku add-on (see FAQ).
    • Atlas currently does not have a Data API (see FAQ).
    • Atlas currently does not support archiving backups to custom S3 buckets but it does have an API for programmatically accessing backups.
    • Atlas does not support sharing of EBS Snapshots but it does have an API for programmatically accessing backups.
    • Atlas restricts the ability to use certain database commands, some of which were allowed on mLab.
    • Atlas supports [Analytics Nodes using replica set tags][minc-atlas-analytics-nodes] instead of using hidden nodes.
    • Atlas servers always run with requireSSL and only accept TLS/SSL encrypted connections.

Q. Does Atlas have a Data API?

MongoDB Atlas offers similar capabilities in MongoDB Stitch. We will be exploring what we can do to reduce friction associated with the transition over the coming months.

In the meantime mLab’s Data API will continue to run as it always has.

Q. Does Atlas have a Heroku add-on?

Not at this time. However, MongoDB will be working to build an integration between MongoDB Atlas and Heroku. You will be able to continue to use mLab via its add-on at Heroku until the new integration is available.

Importantly note that many applications use Heroku with mLab without using Heroku’s add-on program. If you go this route you just need to ensure that your Heroku app is hosted in the same AWS region as your database. For convenience our docs at Heroku include a mapping of Heroku’s region names to AWS regions.

Q. Will I need to pay for data transfer costs separately?

Yes. Atlas plans are packaged differently than mLab’s in that clusters, support, backups, and data transfer are priced separately.

If you are concerned that data transfer costs will be disproportionately high, ensuring that your application and database are running in the same cloud region will not only allow you to minimize data transfer costs but also will minimize network latency and network instability. If you are still concerned please contact support@mlab.com for advice.