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Question: How does the findAndModify command affect MongoDB performance?


MongoDB's findAndModify command is a powerful tool that allows you to atomically modify and return a single document. It can be incredibly useful for tasks where you need to update a document and also need the original or updated document returned in the same operation. However, its impact on performance is a nuanced topic that deserves attention.

Understanding findAndModify

The command works by searching for a document based on a query, applying an update, and then returning either the old version (before the update) or the new version (after the update) of the document, based on your preference. This atomic operation ensures consistency but can come at a cost.

Performance Considerations

  1. Atomicity and Locks: One of the reasons findAndModify can impact performance is its atomic nature. To maintain atomicity, MongoDB may need to obtain locks on the involved documents or collections, potentially increasing latency if these locks contend with other operations.

  2. Index Usage: The performance of findAndModify, like other database operations, heavily relies on the use of indexes. If your query part of the command utilizes an indexed field effectively, performance will be much better than a full collection scan.

  3. Write Concerns: The write concern level specified with findAndModify impacts performance. Higher levels of write concern (e.g., requiring acknowledgment from multiple replica set members) will naturally result in higher latencies.

  4. Return Document Size: The size of the document being returned can also affect performance. Larger documents consume more network bandwidth and increase the time it takes for the operation to complete.

Best Practices

  • Use Indexes Wisely: Ensure that your queries leverage indexes to minimize the need for full collection scans.
  • Consider Write Concerns: Choose an appropriate write concern level based on your application's requirements for data durability versus performance.
  • Projection: If you do not need the entire document, use projection to limit the fields returned by findAndModify, reducing network overhead.


db.collection.findAndModify({ query: { _id: "someId" }, update: { $inc: { counter: 1 } }, new: true, // Return the modified document rather than the original upsert: true // Insert a new document if no matching document is found });

In summary, while findAndModify is a powerful feature, understanding its performance implications and employing best practices can help mitigate potential issues. Effective use of indexes, sensible write concerns, and judicious use of projections can all contribute to maintaining optimal performance.

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