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Why businesses should be paying attention to NoSQL in 2014

NoSQL goes from strength to strength
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DataStax is the company behind the open source database Cassandra, which powers companies from eBay Spotify and Netflix through to water utility software company i20 Water and sports e-commerce house Wiggle in the UK.

The company recently announced an in-memory update to its product DataStax Enterprise. Billy Bosworth, CEO at Datastax, explains why the NoSQL database will continue to grow in popularity in 2014.

TechRadar Pro: Why should people be paying attention to NoSQL in 2014?

Billy Bosworth: First, it's already infiltrated your world and you probably don't even know it. Whether you are shopping, gaming, reading news sites, watching movies online, or getting a prescription filled, you're likely using our technology. We're past theory and into reality.

Second, The "always on" world cannot be serviced by databases with 25-year-old technology. They weren't built for the kind of architectures that can avoid disasters and deliver performance that was unheard of just a few years ago

Third, no matter your business, data is the new currency. I'm pretty sure Google did not buy Nest for over $3B because they wanted a pretty thermostat. We're seeing new industries born and old industries radically changed by changing how we perceive the value of data. Before any of that vast amount of data can be analyzed, it must first be created. We are the engine that allows all that data to be created.

TRP: Why will the team be able to take on Oracle this time around? What's different?

BB: MySQL was brilliant for its time because the team understood something that is very difficult for software developers, and that is reductionism. Relational databases were bloated with too much bolt-on technology, so MySQL went after an audience that needed one thing (web transactions) above all else, and they blew away all the other chaff.

They made it simple, and they made it free in the open-source world. That was a massive disruption to the relational market, but make no mistake about it, it was a cost disruption more than anything else. It was still a relational database.

Today, we get incredible value out of my leadership team members who come from MySQL because they know the open source software model (no trivial thing) and because they learned how to disrupt a huge incumbent. But the reason they are here is because they know that this time, the primary market driver is not cost -- it is technology.

The real disruption is that our technology is built for an "always on" world where data is massively distributed. The fact that we're typically 1/10th the cost of something like Oracle is fantastic, but incidental. Spending more money, or using clever marketing, cannot fix a bad architecture.

That is not only true for relational databases, but also applies to NoSQL databases that suffer from architectural limitations not sufficient for a fully distributed world.

TRP: What will be the key areas for NoSQL in 2014?

BB: This year will see NoSQL become a lot more mainstream and get adopted by companies who you wouldn't think of as modern innovators - like the Post Office or manufacturers. Well, they've already begun making the transition, and many others will soon follow. So it's not just for web and "cloud native" businesses any longer.

Undoubtedly, the demand for skills around NoSQL will go up this year as well – we are helping the community here with access to free training around Cassandra, expanding the number of people with skills and making it easier to support these innovative new apps.

If you are well versed in NoSQL, and can write applications at global scale, then you can pretty much write your own ticket because you are the most in-demand employee a tech company can find. So we see a lot of growth happening in the community because the top engineers really want to learn these new skills and also have fun with a really exciting technology.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Then followed a weekly tech column in a local business magazine in Mauritius, a late night tech radio programme called Clicplus and a freelancing gig at the now-defunct, Theinquirer, with the legendary Mike Magee as mentor. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.