Mem3 is the node membership application for clustered CouchDB. It is used in CouchDB since version 2.0 and tracks two very important things for the cluster:

  1. member nodes
  2. node/shards mappings for each database

Both the nodes and shards are tracked in node-local couch databases. Shards are heavily used, so an ETS cache is also maintained for low-latency lookups. The nodes and shards are synchronized via continuous CouchDB replication, which serves as ‘gossip’ in Dynamo parlance. The shards ETS cache is kept in sync based on membership and database event listeners.

A very important point to make here is that CouchDB does not necessarily divide up each database into equal shards across the nodes of a cluster. For instance, in a 20-node cluster, you may have the need to create a small database with very few documents. For efficiency reasons, you may create your database with Q=4 and keep the default of N=3. This means you only have 12 shards total, so 8 nodes will hold none of the data for this database. Given this feature, we even shard use out across the cluster by altering the ‘start’ node for the database's shards.

Shards can be split using the /_reshard API endpoint. Refer to a separate README regarding the technical detail on how shard splitting works.

Getting Started

Mem3 requires R13B03 or higher and can be built with rebar, which comes bundled in the repository. Rebar needs to be able to find the couch_db.hrl header file; one way to accomplish this is to set ERL_LIBS to point to the apps subdirectory of a CouchDB checkout, e.g.

ERL_LIBS="/usr/local/src/couchdb/apps" ./rebar compile


Apache 2.0