January 5, 2013

NewSQL thoughts

I plan to write about several NewSQL vendors soon, but first here’s an overview post. Like “NoSQL”, the term “NewSQL” has an identifiable, recent coiner — Matt Aslett in 2011 — yet a somewhat fluid meaning. Wikipedia suggests that NewSQL comprises three things:

I think that’s a pretty good working definition, and will likely remain one unless or until:

To date, NewSQL adoption has been limited.

That said, the problem may lie more on the supply side than in demand. Developing a competitive SQL DBMS turns out to be harder than developing something in the NoSQL state of the art.

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November 19, 2012

Incremental MapReduce

My clients at Cloudant, Couchbase, and 10gen/MongoDB (Edit: See Alex Popescu’s comment below) all boast the feature incremental MapReduce. (And they’re not the only ones.) So I feel like making a quick post about it. For starters, I’ll quote myself about Cloudant:

The essence of Cloudant’s incremental MapReduce seems to be that data is selected only if it’s been updated since the last run. Obviously, this only works for MapReduce algorithms whose eventual output can be run on different subsets of the target data set, then aggregated in a simple way.

These implementations of incremental MapReduce are hacked together by teams vastly smaller than those working on Hadoop, and surely fall short of Hadoop in many areas such as performance, fault-tolerance, and language support. That’s a given. Still, if the jobs are short and simple, those deficiencies may be tolerable.

A StackOverflow thread about MongoDB’s version of incremental MapReduce highlights some of the implementation challenges.

But all practicality aside, let’s return to the point that incremental MapReduce only works for some kinds of MapReduce-based algorithms, and consider how much of a limitation that really is. Looking at the Map steps sheds a little light: Read more

June 3, 2012

Introduction to Cloudant

Cloudant is one of the few NoSQL companies with >100 paying subscription customers. For starters:

Company demographics include:

The Cloudant guys gave me some customer counts in May that weren’t much higher than those they gave me in February, and seem to have forgotten to correct the discrepancy. Oh well. The latter (probably understated) figures included ~160 paying customers, of which:

The largest Cloudant deployments seem to be in the 10s of terabytes, across a very low double digit number of servers.

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