NoSQL databases are getting all the attention lately as opposed to the relational databases (RDBMS) that have been there for decades. NoSQL databases also known as non-relational and “Cloud” databases have become a suitable alternative in all aspects of database management. Here we look at the 5 basic advantages and challenges pertaining to the same.
Advantages of NoSQL
It has been a common norm in the past years that bigger servers are a solution to increasing load. Database administrators have sought the “scale up” process to meet the challenges of space. NoSQL, however suffices a “scale out” via virtualized and cloud environments. NoSQL is designed to take advantage of nodes and expand transparently facilitated by low cost hardware commodity. This elastic scaling lowers the deployment costs.
With transactions increasing every minute, the volume of data has reached a massive level. This is being called the “industrial revolution of data”. However, when the capacity of RDBMS is increased to match the growing transaction rates, the practicalities are becoming more costly and intolerable for most enterprises. NoSQL is designed to easily handle Big Data including Hadoop and outstrips RDBMS capabilities.
No more DBA’s as of now
High end RDBMS required highly trained DBAs who were involved in design, deployment and subsequent tuning of the system. This was a highly expensive procedure. NoSQL, on the other hand require the least amount of management, data distribution, simpler data models and are capable of automatic repair.
NoSQL uses cheap commodity servers to handle the exploding transaction and data volumes. Cost per transaction / gigabyte / second is quite less this was as compared to RDBMS systems.
Data model flexibility
Change management had always been an issue with RDBMS wherein minor changes required excessive management and reduced service levels and downtime. NoSQL however is more relaxed and can modify itself to suit the requirement of any application structure.
Challenges of NoSQL
NoSQL advocates will agree that the advancing demands will certainly lead to obsolescence but the maturity cycle of RDBMS seems more assuring. RDBMS, being there for decades, is more stable and functional. Many NoSQL alternatives are yet to have their key features implemented and are in the pre-production stage.
RDBMS vendors take a lot of trouble to ensure high level enterprise support but NoSQL being open-source are often handled by small firms who are incapable of global reach, wholesome credibility and resource lengths.
Business intelligence and analytics
NoSQL was initially set up to meet the requirement of Web 2.0 applications and consequently, all the features are oriented towards the same. However, other commercial platforms require going beyond insert-read-update-delete cycle. Even the simplest queries require significant programming expertise and the integrated BI tools aren’t enough.
NoSQL design goals have zero-admin solutions and require a high skill set for installation and subsequently a lot of effort to maintain.
While there are millions of developers across the globe, most of them are conversant with RDBMS structures. All NoSQL developers can be treated to be in their learning periods and are yet to become an expert. While this challenge ill balance out with time, for now, it is quite hard to choose the right developer.
NoSQL databases are becoming increasingly important for their enhanced capabilities/capacities and economies. However, caution should be maintained and developers should be aware of its legitimate limitations