Is RDBMS, as we know it, dead?

RDBMS, that served the software development world, so well for so long, could soon get killed?

Atleast a bunch of like minded nerds who met at San Fransicso, seem to think so! A debrief of the conference, slide decks/recordings etc. can be had here.

Their argument is that "Relational databases give you too much. They force you to twist your object data to fit a RDBMS". NoSQL-based alternatives "just give you what you need"

By sidestepping the time-consuming toil of translating apps and data into a SQL-friendly format, NoSQL architectures perform much faster, they say.

"SQL is an awkward fit for procedural code, and almost all code is procedural," For data upon which users expect to do heavy, repeated manipulations, the cost of mapping data into SQL is "well worth paying ... But when your database structure is very, very simple, SQL may not seem that beneficial."

Facebook, for instance, created its Cassandra data store to power a new search feature on its Web site rather than use its exisiting database, MySQL. According to a presentation by Facebook engineer Avinash Lakshman (PDF document), Cassandra can write to a data store taking up 50GB on disk in just 0.12 milliseconds, more than 2,500 times faster than MySQL.

Amazon.com's CTO, Werner Vogels, refers to the company's influential Dynamo system as a "highly available key-value store." Google calls its BigTable, the other role model for many NoSQL adherents, a "distributed storage system for managing structured data."

Hypertable, an open-source column-based database modeled upon BigTable, is used by local search engine Zvents Inc. to write 1 billion cells of data per day, according to a presentation by Doug Judd (PDF document), a Zvents engineer.

Encouraging? Think again...

"Most large enterprises have an established way of doing OLTP [online transaction processing], probably via relational database management systems. Why change?" MapReduce and similar BI-oriented projects "may be useful for enterprises. But where it is, it probably should be integrated into an analytic DBMS [database management system.]"

Because they are open source, NoSQL alternatives lack vendors offering formal support. That's definitely, no deal breaker for many of us!

Source: ComputerWorld



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