Why NoSQL is shaking up the database market

TRP: What are the primary considerations for enterprises that are evaluating and deploying NoSQL?

AC: I believe every enterprise checklist should start with security and compliance. The next point depends on the value of your data because valuable data requires ACID compliance.

For those businesses looking at virtualisation, cloud and private cloud, there will be a requirement for scalability across variable and elastic infrastructures. And those operations that run 24 x 7 will have to evaluate data backup, recovery, and business continuity needs.

The unloved stepchild in this world is the administrative toolset. The database tools need to easily integrate into existing system management solutions and afford a level of customisation while supporting development and testing.

TRP: How does Hadoop fit into the data-centred data centre?

AC: One trend in the market is the growing understanding of the importance of Hadoop as a file system. Hadoop by itself is not an application environment - you have to build your application on top of it.

It is a key technology for data-centred data centres, enabling businesses to implement a full-tiered storage architecture so they can store significant data volumes at a low cost, using commodity hardware, and then run the database natively on the Hadoop distributed file system.

I think of Hadoop as the new shared storage infrastructure for big data but it's important to note that it needs to be complemented with high-performance storage technologies and analytics for real-time search, discovery and analysis.

We can already see in the alliances being formed between Hadoop companies and those owning or building the database functionality on top.

TRP: Does semantics technology play a role yet?

AC: Semantics has been through the hype cycle since the incredible Tim Berners-Lee first brought it to our attention a dozen or so years ago.

Now the technology has caught up with the hype and organisations are finding they can make better-informed decisions, reduce risk, and convey more accurate information by combining documents, data and RDF triples (also known as linked data) in a single architecture. The BBC used semantics to populate its Olympics websites.

Until now, triple stores have been separated from the data source itself, with context getting lost in the process, but newer technologies such as ours are solving this problem by storing the triples, documents and data in the same database.

TRP: Can NoSQL databases ever meet the stringent requirements of enterprises such as financial services institutions and government?

AC: Although the large relational database players are loath to concede their dominance in the enterprise database market to more nimble NoSQL vendors, the reality is that NoSQL technology is already present in enterprises such as financial institutions and government agencies running production applications and operational transactions.

Many of the NoSQL vendors currently lack these types of enterprise capabilities, but they have stated that they intend to include enterprise features to their future roadmaps. Remember how in the mid 1990s Oracle started on a sharp upward trajectory once it supported true transactional consistency? I predict the same growth in the NoSQL space.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.