I have noticed in recent times that some of our clients have taken a keen interest in, or have even made a move towards non-relational database management systems (non-RDBMS). Although relational database management systems (RDBMS) have ruled the roost where data management is concerned for the last 30 years, this shift towards or interest in non-RDBMS can largely be attributed to the use of mobile/web applications and the rise of cloud computing and of course the vast abundance of data that is generated by these distributed systems.
With these applications on the rise, resulting in increased amounts of information or data scalability is crucial for performance which has paved the way for the introduction of non-RDBMS.
Personally the three main advantages of non-relational database management systems are:
For years DBA’s have relied on scaling up instead of scaling out. Meaning instead of buying bigger, expensive servers as the database load increases, one could distribute the database across multiple hosts.
The amount of data has increased rapidly over the last few decades and it is without doubt that non-RDBMS outperforms RDBMS when handling these vast amounts of information.
Non-RDBMS typically use clusters of cheap commodity servers to manage the exploding data and transaction volumes, while RDBMS tend to rely on expensive proprietary servers and storage systems.
One particular non-RDBMS that is gaining popularity amongst developers is MongoDB. It is a scalable, high-performance, open source, document-oriented database system. This means it is well suited for content management, comment storage, management, voting, user registration, profiles and session data i.e. massive amounts of information.
For this reason the non-RDBMS way of thinking has gained popularity with clients such as D&B. D&B is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses. D&B’s global commercial database contains in excess of 190 million business records in over two hundred countries. It comes as no surprise that a company with as much data as D&B would be interested skills and expertise in No SQL (MongoDB, Couch DB) and also Semantic Web Experience (RDF, OWL).
Over the next few years I expect the use and popularity of Non-RDBMS systems to grow, meeting the needs of various webs services and distributed systems but having said that RDBMS will always have its time and place in computing. As they say you need to pick the right tool for the job, or in other words choose the database system which fits your application goals and requirements.