[BangPypers] NoSQL

Noufal Ibrahim noufal at gmail.com
Sun Feb 13 09:51:08 CET 2011

On Sun, Feb 13 2011, Anand Balachandran Pillai wrote:

> I am sure many of you must have gone through this discussion, but
> sharing it anyway since I liked the analogy he makes with SQL against
> NoSQL compared to transmission in cars.

I liked the analogy but don't agree with the second paragraph. It's not
only about size. Thanks to the dominance of SQL databases, everyone
tends to think of them as the "default" and use noSQL only if
necessary. That needn't be the case. Small (non Google, non Facebook)
applications that need to store documents (e.g. a wiki) *might* work
better with a noSQL backend than a relational one.

> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2559411/sql-mysql-vs-nosql-couchdb
> It might be a cliche, but I kind of feel the current "NoSQL movement"
> is simply a case of "The grass must be greener on the other side".

I don't really follow "movements" but disagree agree with your general

The kinds of data and hardware that people are dealing with have changed
and different problems are cropping up. The constraints and requirements
have changed as well. New technologies have come up to address these
problems and given that we live in these times, it's quite possible that
the problems we face might fall into the categories for which these
systems have been designed. It's unwise to summarily dismiss document
stores out of the box.

Also, the transition is not abrupt (SQL yesterday, noSQL today). SQL
databases have been used in a semi schemaless fashion e.g. Triple
stores[1], Entity-attribute-value model[2] etc. 

For some kinds of datasets, sound RDMS rules are violated to gain
performance. e.g. Denormalisation[3]. These kinds of things indicate
that RDBMs systems are not designed to handle certain classes of
problems that are cropping up and new solutions have to be sought out. 

It's an engineering problem. Different situations call for different
tools and solutions.

I personally tend to ignore the whippersnappers with their "SQL suxx0rZ!
noSQL roX!" outlook and the grumpy SQL advocates with their "Get off my
lawn!" attitude.


[1]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triplestore
[2]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entity-attribute-value_model
[3]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denormalization


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