Alex Williams noticed that there will be a NoSQL session at Oracle OpenWorld next week, and is wondering whether this will be a big deal. I think it won’t be.
There really are three major points to NoSQL.
- Dynamic schemas. This is the only one of the three that truly depends on NoSQL.
- Scale-out short-request processing. If you want to scale out efficiently at high request volumes, you’re best off not using all the flexibility SQL/relational DBMS offer. (In particular, you don’t want to do cross-node joins). Not coincidentally, a number of the best scale-out offerings were built to be NoSQL.
- Open source. Doing a relational DBMS is a big project. It seems easier to build NoSQL ones.
Oracle can address the latter two points as aggressively as it wishes via MySQL. It so happens I would generally recommend MySQL enhanced by dbShards, Schooner, and/or dbShards/Schooner, rather than Oracle-only MySQL … but that’s a detail. In some form or other, Oracle’s MySQL is a huge player in the scale-out, open source, short-request database management market.
So that leaves us with dynamic schemas. Oracle has at least four different sets of technology in that area:
- As Workday noticed years ago, MySQL can be used as a functional, basic key-value store.
- Oracle also has XML-based Berkeley DB/SleepyCat kicking around.*
- The XML extensions to Oracle’s core DBMS could be alleged to have a dynamic schema/NoSQL flavor. (Blech.)
- A dynamic schema argument could also be made for object-oriented DBMS technology. While Oracle doesn’t to my knowledge exactly sell that, it does have the Tangosol Coherence line of technology, with a potentially similar programming model.
If Oracle is now refreshing and rebranding one or more of these as “NoSQL”, there’s no reason to view that as a big deal at all.
*That’s Mike Olson’s former company, if you’re keeping score at home.