Programming language: Elixir
License: Apache License 2.0
Tags: Miscellaneous    
Latest version: v2.0.0

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CubDB is an embedded key-value database written in the Elixir language. It runs locally, it is schema-less, and backed by a single file.

Head to the API reference for usage details, or read the Frequently Asked Questions and the How To section for more information.


  • Both keys and values can be any arbitrary Elixir (or Erlang) term.

  • Simple get, put, and delete operations

  • Arbitrary selection of ranges of entries sorted by key with select

  • Atomic transactions with put_multi, get_and_update_multi, etc.

  • Concurrent read operations, that do not block nor are blocked by writes

  • Zero cost read only snapshots

  • Unexpected shutdowns won't corrupt the database or break atomicity

  • Manual or automatic compaction to optimize space usage

To ensure consistency, performance, and robustness to data corruption, CubDB database file uses an append-only, immutable B-tree data structure. Entries are never changed in-place, and read operations are performed on immutable snapshots.


Start CubDB by specifying a directory for its database file (if not existing, it will be created):

{:ok, db} = CubDB.start_link(data_dir: "my/data/directory")

Important: avoid starting multiple CubDB processes on the same data directory. Only one CubDB process should use a specific data directory at any time.

get, put, and delete operations work as you probably expect:

CubDB.put(db, :foo, "some value")
#=> :ok

CubDB.get(db, :foo)
#=> "some value"

CubDB.delete(db, :foo)
#=> :ok

CubDB.get(db, :foo)
#=> nil

Multiple operations can be performed as an atomic transaction with put_multi, delete_multi, and the other [...]_multi functions:

CubDB.put_multi(db, [a: 1, b: 2, c: 3, d: 4, e: 5, f: 6, g: 7, h: 8])
#=> :ok

Range of entries sorted by key are retrieved using select:

CubDB.select(db, min_key: :b, max_key: :e)
#=> {:ok, [b: 2, c: 3, d: 4, e: 5]}

But select can do much more than that. It can apply a pipeline of operations (map, filter, take, drop and more) to the selected entries, it can select the entries in normal or reverse order, and it can reduce the result using an arbitrary function:

# Take the sum of the last 3 even values:
  # select entries in reverse order
  reverse: true,

  # apply a pipeline of operations to the entries
  pipe: [
    # map each entry discarding the key and keeping only the value
    map: fn {_key, value} -> value end,

    # filter only even integers
    filter: fn value -> is_integer(value) && Integer.is_even(value) end,

    # take the first 3 values
    take: 3

  # reduce the result to a sum
  reduce: fn n, sum -> sum + n end
#=> {:ok, 18}

Zero cost snapshots are a useful feature when one needs to perform several reads or selects, ensuring isolation from concurrent writes, but without blocking writers. This is useful, for example, when reading imultiple keys depending on each other. Snapshots come at no cost: nothing is actually copied or written on disk or in memory, apart from some small bookkeeping:

# the key of y depends on the value of x, so we ensure consistency by getting
# them from the same snapshot, isolating from the effects of concurrent writes
{x, y} = CubDB.with_snapshot(db, fn snap ->
  x = CubDB.get(snap, :x)
  y = CubDB.get(snap, x)

  {x, y}

For more details, read the API documentation.


CubDB can be installed by adding :cubdb to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

def deps do
    {:cubdb, "~> 1.1.0"}


The file data structure used by CubDB is inspired by CouchDB. A big thanks goes to the CouchDB maintainers for the readable codebase and extensive documentation.

Copyright and License

Copyright 2021 Luca Ongaro

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the cubdb README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.