OPTIONS

Model One-to-One Relationships with Embedded Documents

Overview

Data in MongoDB has a flexible schema. Collections do not enforce document structure. Decisions that affect how you model data can affect application performance and database capacity. See Data Modeling Concepts for a full high level overview of data modeling in MongoDB.

This document describes a data model that uses embedded documents to describe relationships between connected data.

Pattern

Consider the following example that maps patron and address relationships. The example illustrates the advantage of embedding over referencing if you need to view one data entity in context of the other. In this one-to-one relationship between patron and address data, the address belongs to the patron.

In the normalized data model, the address document contains a reference to the patron document.

{
   _id: "joe",
   name: "Joe Bookreader"
}

{
   patron_id: "joe",
   street: "123 Fake Street",
   city: "Faketon",
   state: "MA",
   zip: "12345"
}

If the address data is frequently retrieved with the name information, then with referencing, your application needs to issue multiple queries to resolve the reference. The better data model would be to embed the address data in the patron data, as in the following document:

{
   _id: "joe",
   name: "Joe Bookreader",
   address: {
              street: "123 Fake Street",
              city: "Faketon",
              state: "MA",
              zip: "12345"
            }
}

With the embedded data model, your application can retrieve the complete patron information with one query.