NoSQL to Die in Train Wreck
March 30, 2010
“I Can’t Wait for NoSQL to Die” adds fuel to the SQL suck and NoSQL is stupid fire fight. I want to make clear that the addled goose paddles in his pond filled with mine run off fluids and takes no strong position on either side in the battle. When the bullets fly, the goose submerges his head and hopes no stray slug makes him oven ready.
The idea is that SQL is pretty darned good and:
The idea is that object relational databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL have lapsed their useful lifetimes, and that document-based or schemaless databases are the wave of the future. Never mind of course that MySQL was the perfect solution to everything a few years ago when Ruby on Rails was flashing in the pan. Never mind that real businesses track all of their data in SQL databases that scale just fine. (For Silicon Valley readers, Wal-Mart is a real business, Twitter is not.)
The write up points out some notable flaws in the NoSQL solutions. Here’s an example and a good one in the goose’s opinion:
So you’ve magically changed your backend from MySQL to Cassandra. Stuff will just work now, right? Well, no. Did you know that Cassandra requires a restart when you change the column family definition? Yeah, the MySQL developers actually had to think out how ALTER TABLE works, but according to Cassandra, that’s a hard problem that has very little business value. Right.
Other SQL advocates to whom I have spoken have pointed out that even Google uses MySQL in its advertising system. Yes, even Google.
My view of this is that I want to start gathering these pro and con arguments. When emotions run high over a technical issue, I think there may be some interesting examples and possibly some financial information beneath the bluster.
Dr. Codd made a wonderful contribution to data management. My hunch is that with an efflorescence of non-Codd methods, perhaps some useful learnings will emerge. It takes years for an innovation to survive the tests imposed by the real world. When the shooting stops, SQL will remain a useful tool and we may have other useful tools to use to solve certain types of problems.
But the arguments and the verbal sharpshooting is a great deal of fun as long as no goose is killed. I don’t want to be dinner or paté just yet.
Stephen E Arnold, March 30, 2010
Nope. No one paid me to write about my interest in self preservation.