NoSQL is for niches

NoSQL is for niches

Summary: NoSQL technology may be good for some niches, but will remain mostly a niche offering.


After speaking with 10Gen co-founder and CEO Dwight MerriamMerriman (the picture is from his blog), it's clear that NoSQL technology may be good for some niches, but will remain mostly a niche offering.

The 10Gen company is a commercial arm for MongoDB, an open source non-relational database launched as open source in 2007. It uses a typical open source business model -- commercial support, enterprise licenses, training and consulting.

"It's generally used online for real time reads and writes,"MerriamThe most common case is operational data store of a web site infrastructure. It's for Web software."“It’s not for data warehousing or offline batch loaded data storage. The most common case is operational data store of a web site infrastructure."

"We're talking to a lot of people about Mongo who are using Oracle and want to swap it out. But one size fits all is over. There is going to be specialization. We say you shouldn't use one tool for every problem, as you did for relational databases."

Rather than destroying Oracle, MerriamMerriman feels, ideas like NoSQL pick off parts of its market. "The common property of NoSQL is they're non relational and lightly transactional. Beyond that there are many places to go. Data models vary a lot. Some of the product are pure key value stores. Some are tabular. Some like Mongo are JSON databases.

What is most exciting to see, MerriamMerriman says, is the growing maturity of the idea from last year to this.

"Last year in 2009 there were a lot of NoSQL meet-ups with product introductions. This year we'll see use cases, deep dives into this stuff, how you administer it, schema design, how you connect Ruby, C++ etc. to it. It's serious tooling for production systems."

Want to learn more? 10gen is hosting a Mongo Day in San Francisco April 30, an in-depth conference featuring small, hands-on workshops. Great way to get ready for the weekend.

Topics: Big Data, Open Source, Oracle

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  • segmentation yes, niche no

    I do firmly believe one-size-fits-all is over.

    But I don't think this will be a niche - more a broad swath of use cases.
    • RE: NoSQL is for niches

      NoSQL is for<a href=""><font color="light&amp;height"> about it</font></a> is bank that <a href=""><font color="light&amp;height">website</font></a> attacked from the <a href=""><font color="light&amp;height">site support</font></a> from any soldier <a href=""><font color="light&amp;height">site</font></a> to the light <a href=""><font color="light&amp;height">home page</font></a> is great niches
  • History Lesson

    FYI, there have *always* been non-relational databases
    that were faster than SQL based relational databases.
    In point of fact, the first databases were non-
    relational. SQL is a johnny-come-lately. 10Gen's claim
    of being something 'new' is rather hollow.

    So, as an exercise for the reader, here's the $20,000
    question: If the existing databases were faster than
    SQL based databases, why did they die out? And, no,
    the answer is not 'marketing'. ;-)
    • Why SQL prevailed?

      IMO the reason was because the SQL databases were easier to get data out of. A simple select into a command line creates a quick and dirty report.

      With databases like TOTAL, Adabas, DL/1, and so many others from that era, you had to program specifically to the requirements and the datamodel of each database. That would just give you the information; then you had to format it into a report. All in all, much less productive than SQL.

      So, there is computer-fast, and results fast. I think we/the market all chose the latter.

  • Embedded databases

    Berkeley DB is behind alot of products that you wouldn't even know about. It's non-relational. If you're developing a shrink wrapped product, like a mobile app or something, where the user isn't going to be concerned with the underlying data, it doesn't make sense to have a full featured relational database.
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