NoSQL Database Poised to Lead Enterprise Cloud Computing for Non-Relational Data

With companies managing massive amounts of big data and as a schemaless unstructured database technology, NoSQL just happens to be at the right place at the right time. That’s not to say that SQL and other relational databases have fallen out of favour, quite the contrary in fact, but NoSQL does have some unique characteristics that make it a good fit for enterprise computing applications.

It has the flexibility and scalability to help manage both unstructured and structured data in an object-oriented environment. If the growing popularity of NoSQL databases continues it could become the database of choice within the next few years.

NoSQL was developed by the UC Berkeley Database Research Group in the late 1990’s as an open-source alternative to traditional sequential query logic (SQL) relational databases. NoSQL was designed to be a fast and reliable alternative for storing and managing large volumes of unstructured data without the limitations common in traditional databases. But, at the time the majority of unstructured data existed primarily in printed form and converting it to machine readable data was not very efficient. And, since the Internet was in its infancy, it was more difficult and time consuming for external databases to connect to mainframe and network data stores.

However, fast forward two decades and the majority of our data now resides in digital form such as mobile apps, software applications and a variety of public and private databases. Plus, with a growing number of database applications in the cloud, connecting to databases is quick and easy.

Due to its ability to create structured and unstructured databases and pull in data from a variety of sources, NoSQL is gaining popularity with some large, well-known companies who are adopting it across the enterprise. Recently, U.S. based The Weather Channel (TWC) made the decision to switch from MySQL to MongoDB NoSQL. They expect to be able to develop weather-related applications faster than in the past. With a database containing billions of vehicle records taking up more than ten terabytes of online storage, vehicle tracking company, CARFAX had relied heavily on SQL relational database applications for more than thirty years until it too decided to standardise on the MongoDB NoSQL platform.

The NoSQL market is extremely small, so it’s unlikely that it will replace SQL databases for now. However, the fast adoption of the non-relational database technology by so many large enterprise companies has many wondering if we are approaching the end of relational databases. More than likely, NoSQL and SQL will live side-by-side, each with its own set of benefits allowing organisations to select the database technology that best suits their application development requirement.

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