NoSQL as a governance arbitrage
I got into a conversation earlier in the week with a techie friend about the merits of SSDs, which we both use these days for our main machines. It look a odd left turn when he said:
Funny part for me is that I truly believe the SSD revolution will result in a swing back to more traditional storage tech like RDBs.If you could get 100k+ IOPS for good old postgres, would you use something else? ;)
I replied that this ignored some of the social/cultural aspects that are driving NoSQL adoption. To a certain extent I see the entanglement of DBAs into the enterprise as a barrier of adoption to NoSQL, but there’s a flip side to this coin – so I replied:
NoSQL in the enterprise is sometimes about performance envelope, but in most cases I think it’s actually about escaping from the ‘cult of the DBA’ (and their friends the ‘priesthood of storage’). Most enterprise have a Dev:Ops barrier with the OR mapper on one side and the RDB on the other, so if people want to get with the DevOps groove they have to go some flavour of NoSQL – basic governance arbitrage.
Possibly, but I think people underestimate the tech behind the top class RDB engines, and making them go faster is sometimes a better solution then switching.. What the SSDs are doing is lowering, dramatically so, the price to increase the performance of said RDBs…
He is of course right on both counts. RDBMS has dominated for so long, and found its way into use cases way beyond what ‘relational’ was intended for precisely because the underlying engines are so fast and flexible, and SSDs will just help to sustain that status quo (at least if people can come up with file systems that provide less of an impedance mismatch between the RDB workload and underlying storage substrate – but that’s another story). I do however think that NoSQL will continue to thrive and disrupt in situations where organisational structure and the governance processes that go with it are seen as barriers to progress.
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Tags: dba, enterprise, governance, nosql, rdb, rdbms, ssd