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NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond

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The 451 Group has published last week the conclusions of a report detailing the growing set of options in the information management space. In the process they also clarified what they meant by "NewSQL".

“NewSQL” is our shorthand for the various new scalable/high performance SQL database vendors. [...NewSQL vendors] have in common the development of new relational database products and services designed to bring the benefits of the relational model to distributed architectures, or to improve the performance of relational databases to the extent that horizontal scalability is no longer a necessity.

We would include (in no particular order) Clustrix, GenieDB, ScalArc, Schooner, VoltDB, RethinkDB, ScaleDB, Akiban, CodeFutures, ScaleBase, Translattice, and NimbusDB, as well as Drizzle, MySQL Cluster with NDB, and MySQL with HandlerSocket. The latter group includes Tokutek and JustOne DB. The associated “NewSQL-as-a-service” category includes Amazon Relational Database Service, Microsoft SQL Azure, Xeround, and FathomDB.

For Matthew Aslett, senior analyst at the 451 group, there are currently three trends in the industry:

  • the NoSQL databases, designed to meet the scalability requirements of distributed architectures, and/or schemaless data management requirements,
  • the NewSQL databases designed to meet the requirements of distributed architectures or to improve performance such that horizontal scalability is no longer needed 
  • the Data grid/cache products designed to store data in memory to increase application and database performance 

The 451 Group presented a classification of the information management market and they conclusion of their report:

The report notes that even though there is a high degree of innovation in the information management space, the market is still largely dominated by relational vendors. They see however an interesting trend related to polyglot programming which is making developers use multiple database products.

The 451 Group  explains that NoSQL has emerged both from the availability of commodity of hardware and the lack of response from existing vendors to address the performance, scalability and performance requirements of large scale data processing. Yet, they explained earlier:

In the meantime, we have already noted the beginning for the end of NoSQL, and the lines are blurring to the point where we expect the terms NoSQL and NewSQL will become irrelevant as the focus turns to specific use cases.

They see the emergence of NewSQL providers as a direct response to the increasing need for scalable data management products that take advantage of the distributed server architecture where NewSQL and data-grid products are commonly found. They see this sector of the market increasingly targeted by NoSQL vendors as well.

They also see distributed data-grid/cache products  increasingly being positioned as potential alternatives to relational databases as the primary platform for distributed data management, with a relational database relegated to a supporting role.

InfoQ spoke briefly with William Shulman, co-founder of MongoLab, a company that provides a Cloud-based hosted MongoDB solution. He explained:

I think the six key drivers [cited to be behind the adoption of alternative information management solutions Scalability, Performance, Relaxed Consistency, Agility, Intricacy and Necessity] miss something subtle and important, that to me is the reason why MongoDB is the next MySQL. It's a data structure thing. MongoDB may have originally gotten attention because of the "mongo" (i.e. it can scale). But, I think the reason it is beloved by so many, for datasets both big and small, is the fact that it is a JSON object store. Having the ability to store complex data structures that mirror the objects in your code is what everyone has been waiting for for 15 years. Good bye object-relational mapping.

New information management solutions are rapidly being adopted even by large corporations, for instance Nick Tan, from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, presented last year how the bank adopted Oracle as a Service showing significant hardware, license and operations cost savings. Are you using similar solutions? Do you see the benefits? Where do you see NoSQL fit?

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