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CouchDB is a document-oriented database application with a JavaScript interface. It's designed for businesses with fairly large data sets who require a system that's low maintenance and easy to work with. The system supports automatic sharding and MapReduce operations. It uses a multiversion concurrency control approach for data processing, which helps with problems that require access to the state of data at various times, but it does involve some work on the client side to handle clashes on writes, and periodic garbage collection cycles have to be run to remove old data. The system doesn't come with a built-in method for horizontal scalability, but there are various external solutions like BigCouch, Lounge, and Pillow to handle splitting data and processing across a cluster of machines.

Data queries are written in JavaScript MapReduce functions called views, an approach that makes it easy for the system to do the processing in a distributed way. Views offer a lot of power and flexibility, but they can be a bit overwhelming for simple queries.

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