Database Setup

Oríon needs a database to operate. It is where we store the optimization execution and results data to enable fast, seamless, and scalable storage integration.

Out of the box, we support three database backend:

  1. EphemeralDB, an in-memory database
  2. PickledDB, a file-based database
  3. MongoDB, a document-oriented database (default)

In this document, we’ll review the different methods by which you can configure which database Oríon will use during its execution. This page also contains the installation instructions for MongoDB and how to upgrade the database if necessary.

Configuring the database

There are different ways that database backend attributes can be configured. The first way is by using a global configuration file, which can easily be done using the command orion db setup. This will create a yaml file of the following format.

  type: 'mongodb'
  name: 'orion_test'
  host: 'mongodb://user:pass@localhost'

The file is typically located at $HOME/.config/orion.core/orion_config.yaml but it may differ based on your operating system.

The second way of configuring the database backend is to use environment variables such as


Note that both configuration methods can be used together, environment variables that are set will overwrite the corresponding values in the global configuration. This is useful if you need to define some of them dynamically, such as picking the database port randomly at runtime based on port availability for ssh tunnels.

The third configuration method is to use a local configuration file which will be passed to Oríon using the --config argument.

orion hunt --config=my_local_config.yaml...

As described above, local configuration file can be used in combination with global and environment variable definitions. Local configuration values will overwrite configuration from both other methods.

Testing the configuration

Once you specified a database, use the command orion db test to test that the configuration is correct.

The test goes through 3 phases. First one is the aggregation of the configuration across global, environment variable and local configuration (note that you can pass --config to include a local configuration in the tests). The tests will print the resulting configuration at each stage.

$ orion db test

Check for a configuration inside the default paths...
    {'type': 'mongodb', 'name': 'mydb', 'host': 'localhost'}

Check for a configuration inside the environment variables... Skipping
No environment variables found.

Check if configuration file has valid database configuration... Skipping
Missing configuration file.


In the last example, we can observe that the last two tests were skipped because there were no environment variables or local configuration file specified.

Alternatively, here’s an example including all three configuration methods.

$ orion db test --config local.yaml

Check for a configuration inside the global paths...
    {'type': 'mongodb', 'name': 'mydb', 'host': 'localhost'}

Check for a configuration inside the environment variables...
    {'type': 'mongodb', 'name': 'mydb', 'host': 'localhost', 'port': '27018'}

Check if configuration file has valid database configuration...
    {'type': 'mongodb', 'name': 'mydb', 'host': 'localhost', 'port': '27017'}


The second phase tests the creation of the database, which prints out the final configuration that will be used and then prints the instance created to confirm the database type.

$ orion db test


Using configuration: {'type': 'mongodb', 'name': 'mydb', 'host': 'localhost'}
Check if database of specified type can be created... Success
DB instance < object at 0x7f86d70067f0>


The third phase verifies if all operations are supported by the database. It is possible that these tests fail because of insufficient user access rights on the database.

$ orion db test


Check if database supports write operation... Success
Check if database supports read operation... Success
Check if database supports count operation... Success
Check if database supports delete operation... Success

Supported databases

In this section, we show snippets of configuration for each database backend.


EphemeralDB is the in-memory database used when executing Oríon with the argument --debug. It is wiped out of memory at end of the execution.

   type: 'ephemeraldb'


EphemeralDB has no arguments.


PickledDB is recommended for its simplicity to setup but it is generally not suited for parallel optimization with more than 50 workers. This is however just a rule of thumb and you may find PickledDB to work properly with more workers if your tasks take a significant amount of time to execute.

   type: 'pickleddb'
   host: '/path/to/a/save/file.pkl'


host File path where the database is saved. All workers require access to this file for parallel optimization so make sure it is on a shared file system.


MongoDB is the recommended backend for large-scale parallel optimizations, where the number of workers gets higher than 50. Make sure to review our MongoDB installation instructions.

   type: 'mongodb'
   name: 'orion_test'
   host: 'mongodb://user:pass@localhost'


name Name of the mongodb database.
host Can be either the host address (hostname or IP address) or a mongodb URI. Default is localhost.
port Port that database servers listens to for requests. Default is 27017.

Installing MongoDB

To install MongoDB locally, follow the official instructions for your operating system. Alternatively, use MongoDB Atlas to create a database in the cloud.

Once MondoDB is installed, create the database using:

$ mongo orion_test --eval 'db.createUser({user:"user",pwd:"pass",roles:["readWrite"]});'

MongoDB Atlas

MongoDB Atlas is a cloud-hosted MongoDB service on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Deploy, operate, and scale a MongoDB database in just a few clicks.

  1. Create an account here.

  2. Follow the defaults to create a free cluster.

  3. Add cluster name and click on “Create Cluster”.

  4. Wait for the cluster to be created.

  5. In “Overview” tab, click on “CONNECT”.

  6. Add the IP of your computer to the whitelist or “Allow access from anywhere.”

  7. Click on “Connect your application”.

  8. Orion supports MongoDB drive 3.4, so choose driver 3.4.

  9. Copy the generated SRV address and replace “USERNAME” and “PASSWORD” with your Atlas MongoDB username and password.

  10. To test, move to the first page, select “connect”, and then choose “Connect with your the Mongo Shell”. Select your operating system and copy the URL:

    mongo YOUR_URL --username YOUR_USER_NAME
  11. Configure Oríon’s YAML file (See Configuring the database).

Upgrading the database

The database’s schema may change between major version of Oríon. If this happens, you will get the following error after upgrading Oríon.

The database is outdated. You can upgrade it with the command `orion db upgrade`.

Before upgrading the database, make sure to create a backup of it. You should also make sure that there is no process writing to the database during the upgrade otherwise the latter could fail and corrupt the database.

When ready, simply run the upgrade command orion db upgrade.