Couchbase Enables SQL to Run Against JSON Document Database

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    Five Reasons Scale-Out SQL Will Make Waves in the Enterprise

    At the Couchbase Connect 2015 conference today, Couchbase revealed that it has developed an implementation of SQL that can be applied to a document database based on the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data format.

    While document databases have gained a lot of momentum among developers, from the perspective of database administrators (DBAs) in the enterprise, they represent something of a headache because they don’t support SQL.

    Ravi Mayuram, senior vice president of products and engineering for Couchbase, says the project complements SQL++ technology developed by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and is currently in beta along with version 4.0 of the Couchbase database. The N1QL: SQL for JSON (Nickel) project makes it possible to apply SQL queries to Couchbase in much the same way SQL is used to query every other database in the enterprise.

    Mayuram says Couchbase is betting that IT organizations would rather standardize on a document database that supports SQL than use rival platforms that don’t. As IT organizations become more comfortable with having to support multiple types of backend databases, Mayuram notes that the one unifying layer of software that can span all those environments is SQL.

    Longer term, SQL support for JSON document databases should go a long way toward healing a schism that has developed between developers and DBAs. Developers have embraced document databases because they are simple enough for them to stand up without requiring the help, or even permission, of a DBA. But the bigger issue from an enterprise IT perspective is that up until now, document databases were only really addressable using JavaScript. Of course, it may take a little while for all the parties involved to forgive and forget. But SQL support inside a JSON document database is certainly a major step in the right direction.


    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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