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Relational database – past its prime?

NoSQL technology is replacing relational database systems more and more

One of the platforms that we’re a fan of, Stackato, has a post on their support for Neo4J. While the post itself is interesting for us, and the value proposition is also interesting, it’s actually a small point in the article that caught our eye.

Relational database table

Relational database table, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/niklasstjerna/5313825349/

Warner Music CTO Jonathan Murray noted that in their work, they’re not seeing a crucial need for relational databases.

in his talk Jonathan made it emphatically clear that for all of their recent and greenfield app development, they could not come up with a single use-case that required a relational database.

Not one. Hmmmm.

That’s interesting. Obviously, here at flockdata, we favor NoSQL. The article goes on to discuss some of the advantages of non-relational database technology:

Database technology has advanced fast, resulting in a vast palette of mind-numbingly powerful big data or NoSQL databases and datastore products, many of which are instantly and freely available. Several of these surpass traditional RDBMS systems in performance, and have other considerable advantages.

Let’s look at that for a moment. These technologies now “surpass traditional RDBMS systems in performance“. As data volumes accumulate at unprecedented rates, access to data in real-time becomes mission critical. What good is it to have data, if the analysis takes longer than you can afford to wait? Remember that the key is to be able to apply learnings from your data before those lessons go stale. So performance is key. Traditionally, performance decreased in inverse proportion to the size of the data stored. Indexes only go so far to helping that.

That’s why a radical re-thinking in data storage and analysis was needed. That’s where NoSQL comes in. It’s a shift in data storage from neatness and proper, to practical and functional. It’s this type of thinking that leads to breakthroughs.

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