April 20, 2011

NoSQL, NewSQL highly scalable databases

“NewSQL” is the 451 Groups shorthand for the various new scalable/high performance SQL database vendors. They have previously referred to these products as ‘ScalableSQL’ to differentiate them from the incumbent relational database products. Since this implies horizontal scalability, which is not necessarily a feature of all the products, they adopted the term ‘NewSQL’ in a new report.

The new thing about the NewSQL vendors is the vendor, not the SQL.

So who would be consider to be the NewSQL vendors? Like NoSQL, NewSQL is used to describe a loosely-affiliated group of companies (ScaleBase has done a good job of identifying, some of the several NewSQL sub-types) but what they have in common is the development of new relational database products and services designed to bring the benefits of the relational model to distributed architectures, or to improve the performance of relational databases to the extent that horizontal scalability is no longer a necessity.

In the first group they would include (in no particular order) Clustrix, GenieDB, ScalArc, Schooner, VoltDB, RethinkDB, ScaleDB, Akiban, CodeFutures, ScaleBase, Translattice, and NimbusDB, as well as Drizzle, MySQL Cluster with NDB, and MySQL with HandlerSocket. The latter group includes Tokutek and JustOne DB. The associated “NewSQL-as-a-service” category includes Amazon Relational Database Service, Microsoft SQL Azure, Xeround, and FathomDB.

SPRAINed Databases

NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond: The answer to SPRAINed relational databases

SPRAIN, used in the above graphic, is an acronym that refers to the six key factors driving the adoption of alternative data management technologies to traditional relational databases that are being ‘sprained’ as a result of being stretched beyond their normal capacity by the needs of high-volume, highly distributed or highly complex applications.

Those six key drivers, and their associated sub-drivers, are as follows:

Scalability – hardware economics
Performance – MySQL limitations
Relaxed consistency – CAP theorem
Agility – polyglot persistence
Intricacy – big data, total data
Necessity – open source

A selection of some of the key findings:

* The database market remains dominated by relational databases and the incumbent industry giants, but the emergence of NoSQL and NewSQL alternatives has in part been driven by the inability of these products to address emerging distributed and schema-less data management requirements.

* Polyglot persistence, and the associated trend toward polyglot programming, is driving developers toward making use of multiple database products depending on which might be suitable for a particular task.

* The NoSQL projects were developed in response to the failure of existing suppliers to address the performance, scalability and flexibility requirements of large-scale data processing, particularly for Web and cloud computing applications.

* NewSQL and data-grid products have emerged to meet similar requirements among enterprises, a sector that is now also being targeted by NoSQL vendors.

* While NoSQL is seen as a software innovation prompted by the need to deal with large volumes of data, the software innovation was a direct response to the improved performance of commodity hardware clusters and the ability to spread data storage and processing across that hardware.

Changing hardware economics mean that distributed server architecture is increasingly being adopted in traditional enterprise environments. The emergence of NewSQL providers is a direct response to the increasing need for scalable data management products to make more efficient use of this architecture.

Distributed data-grid/cache products are increasingly being positioned as potential alternatives to relational databases as the primary platform for distributed data management, with a relational database relegated to a supporting role.

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