NoSQL 1.0, a Shift in Architecture, But What Else?

By Robert Greene

One thing NoSQL 1.0 is bringing to the table is a shift in architecture. The benefit here is the elimination of critical dependency on the JOIN operation and the ability to scale through distribution. Done correctly, this allows for algorithmic processing as opposed to strictly query-based processing – but the way query is being introduced in NoSQL 1.0 solutions has many people approaching NoSQL like they have the traditional relational database (RDB).  This simply leads back to a place where one can more easily ask SQL-type questions like “what are my top 10 sales performers for the quarter?”

However, the questions which have the most impact are more profound. These questions can be something like, “how does this user’s pattern of usage compare to others, and based on the similarity, what can I offer that user?” or “match the three-dimensional structure of a certain protein against a database of ten million other proteins to find a potential new drug candidate match.” These kinds of questions are algorithmic and not naturally set-based logic operations.

The reality is that, today, database systems need to be able to handle the complexity of storing useful models (e.g. predictive models) that can be coupled into the business system to create a proactive business as opposed to one that is simply reactive. With that, simple indexed queries are a first and important step to handling end user needs, as these are fundamental building blocks to a useful solution.

In the end, NoSQL 1.0 vendors should be aiming to enable existing enterprise developer skill sets and lower the risk to adoption. Query is only one important aspect of what people need.  First, they need an architectural shift and the ability to do algorithmic based processing. Then, they need query to round out the solution and allow other adjunct requirements found in an enterprise deployment.

The enterprise needs a query capability that integrates with their existing skill sets and the trick is how to combine that query ability with the NoSQL shift in architecture.

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