Since posting last Wednesday morning that I’m looking into NoSQL and HVSP, I’ve had a lot of conversations, including with (among others):
- Dwight Merriman of 10gen (MongoDB)
- Damien Katz of Couchio (CouchDB)
- Matt Pfeil of Riptano (Cassandra)
- Todd Lipcon of Cloudera (HBase committer)
- Tony Falco of Basho (Riak)
- John Busch of Schooner
- Ori Herrnstadt of Akiban
By no means do I have time to do these conversations justice, in terms of giving them the write-ups and/or immediate follow-up that they deserve. Indeed, I’ll leave for vacation Saturday morning with my 2000-word NoSQL article still unwritten. So I’ll dump as many observations as I can into one or a few posts now, and play catch-up later as circumstances allow.
In no particular order:
- A number of NoSQL offerings have had more uptake to date than most of the scale-out SQL offerings have.
- “Document-oriented” NoSQL projects CouchDB and MongoDB have probably had the most users get into production, but perhaps for pretty small systems.
- Cassandra and Hbase — the column-group-architecture guys — have probably had the most bang-in-lots-of-writes HVSP production uptake.*
- I didn’t talk customer count with Schooner, but the decently-stocked Schooner customer page suggests Schooner may be something of an exception to these generalities.
- A lot of these companies are in the low-to-mid-teens of employees.
- The SQL-oriented companies, despite having fewer or no customers, often seem to have more money. (One reason I get the impression SQL guys have more money is, frankly, that more of them are talking about engaging my services.)
- It’s only a two-company trend, but I was pleased to hear that both 10gen/MongoDB and Akiban were seeing Drupal as a major use case or potential use case. No word on rescuing WordPress from its MySQL implementation, alas, but it seems that a Drupal site typically has 40-200+ tables, while a WordPress one has 10ish.
- Another trend I think I’m seeing is serious object-oriented apps banging things straight into a simple back end. Workday is a huge example of that. Akiban hopes to do something similar with Hibernate.
- Stability and maturity are still issues for many of these products. E.g., HBase isn’t even in Release 1.0 yet. Ditto Cassandra, and surely many of the others. Unsurprisingly, making Cassandra stable is still a challenge.
*As is common for terms I suggest, the “HVSP” name is not getting any traction. What do you think of Marton Trencseni’s suggestion of OLRP, for OnLine Request Processing?
One thing that makes following this area interesting is that so many projects are open source, leading there to be a lot of information in the wild. I hardly have time to read the mailing list for each project; but the people I talk with do, and often they may sorta kinda remember something somebody else posted one or several months back. As just one example, the mailing lists are said to confirm:
- Contrary to rumor, Facebook hasn’t moved in-box search off of Cassandra.
- Apparently, however, it’s true that Cassandra inventor Facebook has stopped working on Cassandra, and Facebook’s core Cassandra developers have shifted over to HBase.
Also, figuring out usage of open source software can be … interesting.
- People who use open source software don’t have to reveal themselves, as there’s no purchase transaction to kick things off.
- On the other hand, if they’re serious enough in their use, they often do.
- There are two main ways to get tech support for open source software — the community or a company that sells support — and both ways let the main support-selling company know that one is a user.
- Some folks even add themselves to open lists of users, for example these rather long lists for HBase and CouchDB.
- Or they show up at conferences. For example, two tweets from Riptano founder Jonathan Ellis suggest at least 30 production Cassandra users were represented at a recent event. That’s more detail than his colleague Matt Pfeil wanted to give me when talked.
OK. This post has gotten pretty long, even without me saying anything resembling an overview of any of the seven companies I listed up top, or of their products’ adoption. So I’ll just publish this now.