Discussion of Couchbase (the company formed from the merger of Membase and CouchOne) and its products, most of which will also be branded as Couchbase.

July 14, 2011

An odd claim attributed to Mike Stonebraker

This post has a sequel.

Last week, Mike Stonebraker insulted MySQL and Facebook’s use of it, by implication advocating VoltDB instead. Kerfuffle ensued. To the extent Mike was saying that non-transparently sharded MySQL isn’t an ideal way to do things, he’s surely right. That still leaves a lot of options for massive short-request databases, however, including transparently sharded RDBMS, scale-out in-memory DBMS (whether or not VoltDB*), and various NoSQL options. If nothing else, Couchbase would seem superior to memcached/non-transparent MySQL if you were starting a project today.

*The big problem with VoltDB, last I checked, was its reliance on Java stored procedures to get work done.

Pleasantries continued in The Register, which got an amazing-sounding quote from Mike. If The Reg is to be believed — something I wouldn’t necessarily take for granted — Mike claimed that he (i.e. VoltDB) knows how to solve the distributed join performance problem.  Read more

May 15, 2011

What to do about “unstructured data”

We hear much these days about unstructured or semi-structured (as opposed to) structured data. Those are misnomers, however, for at least two reasons. First, it’s not really the data that people think is un-, semi-, or fully structured; it’s databases.* Relational databases are highly structured, but the data within them is unstructured — just lists of numbers or character strings, whose only significance derives from the structure that the database imposes.

*Here I’m using the term “database” literally, rather than as a concise synonym for “database management system”. But see below.

Second, a more accurate distinction is not whether a database has one structure or none — it’s whether a database has one structure or many. The easiest way to see this is for databases that have clearly-defined schemas. A relational database has one schema (even if it is just the union of various unrelated sub-schemas); an XML database, however, can have as many schemas as it contains documents.

One small terminological problem is easily handled, namely that people don’t talk about true databases very often, at least when they’re discussing generalities; rather, they talk about data and DBMS.* So let’s talk of DBMS being “structured” singly or multiply or whatever, just as the databases they’re designed to manage are.

*And they refer to the DBMS as “databases,” because they don’t have much other use for the word.

All that said — I think that single vs. multiple database structures isn’t a bright-line binary distinction; rather, it’s a spectrum. For example:  Read more

February 28, 2011

Updating our vendor client disclosures

Edit: This disclosure has been superseded by a March, 2012 version.

From time to time, I disclose our vendor client lists. Another iteration is below. To be clear:

With that said, our vendor client disclosures at this time are:

Read more

February 8, 2011

Membase and CouchOne merged to form Couchbase

Membase, the company whose product is Membase and whose former company name is Northscale, has merged with CouchOne, the company whose product is CouchDB and whose former name is The result (product and company) will be called Couchbase. CouchDB inventor Damien Katz will join the Membase (now Couchbase) management team as CTO. Couchbase can reasonably be regarded as a document-oriented NoSQL DBMS, a product category I not coincidentally posted about yesterday.

In essence, Couchbase will be CouchDB with scale-out. Alternatively, Couchbase will be Membase with a richer programming interface. The Couchbase sweet spot is likely to be:  Read more

October 18, 2010

More notes on Membase and memcached

As a companion to my post about Membase last week, the company has graciously allowed me to post a rather detailed Membase slide deck. (It even has pricing.) Also, I left one point out.

Membase announced a Cloudera partnership. I couldn’t detect anything technically exciting about that, but it serves to highlight what I do find to be an interesting usage trend. A couple of big Web players (AOL and ShareThis) are using Hadoop to crunch data and derive customer profile data, then feed that back into Membase. Why Membase? Because it can serve up the profile in a millisecond, as part of a bigger 40-millisecond-latency request.

And why Hadoop, rather than Aster Data nCluster, which ShareThis also uses? Umm, I didn’t ask.

When I mentioned this to Colin Mahony, he said Vertica had similar stories. However, I don’t recall whether they were about Membase or just memcached, and he hasn’t had a chance to get back to me with clarification.  (Edit: As per Colin’s comment below, it’s both.)

October 11, 2010

Membase simplifies name, goes GA

The company Northscale that makes the product Membase is now the company Membase that makes the product Membase. Good. Also, the product Membase has now gone GA.

I wrote back in August about Membase, and that covers most of what I think, with perhaps a couple of exceptions:  Read more

August 18, 2010

I’m collecting data points on NoSQL and HVSP adoption

I was asked to do a magazine article on NoSQL, where by “NoSQL” is meant “whatever they talk about at NoSQL conferences.” By now the number of publications planning to run the article is up to 2, the deadline is next week and, crucially, it has been agreed that I may talk about HVSP in general, NoSQL and SQL alike.

It also is understood that, realistically, I can’t be expected to know and mention the very latest news for all the many products in the categories. Even so, I think this would be fine time to check just where NoSQL and HVSP adoption stand. Here is most of what I know, or links to same; it would be great if you guys would contribute additional data in the comment thread.

In the NoSQL area:  Read more

August 18, 2010

Finally confirmed: Membase has a reasonable product roadmap

On my recent trip to California, neither I nor my clients at Northscale covered ourselves in meeting-arranging glory. Still, from the rushed 30 minute meeting we did wind up having, I finally came away feeling good about Membase’s product direction.

To review, Membase is a reasonably elastic persistent data store, sporting the memcached API, making memcached/Membase an attractive alternative to memcached/sharded MySQL. As of now, Membase is a pure key-value store.

Northscale defends pure key-value stores by arguing, in effect:  Read more

August 9, 2010

Links and observations

I’m back from a trip to the SF Bay area, with a lot of writing ahead of me. I’ll dive in with some quick comments here, then write at greater length about some of these points when I can. From my trip:  Read more

April 27, 2010

Gear6 seems to have failed in the memcached market too

As previously noted, I’ve briefly cut back on blogging (and research) due to some family health issues. The first casualty was a post about memcached. One of the two companies to be featured were my new clients at Northscale. The other was Gear6. What they had in common was:

Read more

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