NoSQL Movement Gains

    There’s growing dissatisfaction with SQL on a number of fronts, but it seems hard to tell if this represents an actual movement or just a loose coalition of groups with slightly aligned interests.

    The most prominent members of the ‘NoSQL’ movement are proponents of new data management schemas such as Hadoop and MapReduce, the latter being a new approach to data management pioneered by Google. Vendors that have embraced these approaches include Aster Data and ParAccel.

    A less prominent faction of the ‘NoSQL’ movement comes in the form of companies such as Mark Logic, which makes an XML database that supports the Xquery language for accessing unstructured content in preference to a derivative of SQL.

    Finally, there is a group from the open source community that is promoting a Couch database that allows users to query documents stored in the database using JavaScript.

    While these factions represent the major technology elements of the  backing the ‘NoSQL’ initiative, there are other IT folks lending their support because of their frustrations with database pricing, while others such as Terracotta simply want to reduce the database to a commodity by relying more on memcachedb approaches.

    By leveraging the popularity of Google and other famous Web 2.0 companies that have eschewed the SQL database, the ‘NoSQL’ effort is now fashionable than ever.

    Every faction in the ‘NoSQL’ movement has some legitimate issues, but as Mark Logic CEO Dave Kellogg points out the challenge with all movements is that they can become reactionary. There will probably always be a need for a SQL database. But that said, a SQL database does not need to be the center of the universe for all data. There are instances where the sheer volume of data or the very structure of the data makes another option more viable.

    The real challenge will be getting existing database administrators to realize that.

    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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