NoSQL's real-time analytics, database consolidation entice enterprises

At NoSQL Now conference, industry officials predict where the data management technology is going

NoSQL databases manage large volumes of data in systems such as Web applications. The future, though, could see NoSQL systems fitted for real-time analytics,as well as being part of a consolidation of enterprise NoSQL data systems.

Officials from Oracle, MarkLogic, and FoundationDB, all players in the NoSQL space, offered perspectives on enterprise NoSQL this week at the NoSQL Now 2013 conference in San Jose, Calif. They noted the growing interest in NoSQL and where the technology might be headed. "Every week, I talk to people that are considering replacing an existing database infrastructure with NoSQL databases," said David Rosenthal, co-founder and engineer at FoundationDB.

Panelists pondered analytics and ad hoc querying as enterprise aspirations for NoSQL. Real-time analytics is an obvious aspiration, Rosenthal said. He also cited consolidation of both NoSQL and traditional databases as a goal. "In terms of operational stores, to me the aspiration is to be able to actually consolidate many disparate NoSQL databases." Companies have a desire to not operate four or five or six databases, he added.

Panelist David Rubin, director of development for the Oracle NoSQL database group, stressed ad hoc querying: "Really, ad hoc query at scale is the Holy Grail of where NoSQL is going."

MarkLogic's Pete Aven, a senior engineer, cited tooling improvements as a direction for NoSQL: "Your standard BI tools are still bolt-ons to a relational model."

Panelists disagreed over extending SQL to NoSQL systems. "Really, today, most of the NoSQL systems are API-driven," said Rubin, who advocated in favor of ANSI SQL. Once SQL is extended, users can take advantage of tools that leverage SQL today, he said.

Rosenthal, however, did not see a convergence to SQL. "SQL is going to continue to exist," he said. "But there's a huge demand for things other than SQL." Developers want different APIs for different problems, said Rosenthal. He also sees transaction capabilities as important for NoSQL, which FoundationDB has worked on. Rosenthal advised against using benchmarks to gauge NoSQL systems. "From my personal experience, the benchmarks are usually wrong," and not applicable, he said.

Pondering the fate of Hadoop, panelists sparred over whether the popular distributed computing platform for big data would replace data warehousing. "Hadoop is definitely replacing traditional data warehouses," Rosenthal said, adding he already talks to people who want to make the switch. But he was uncertain if Hadoop would replace traditional ETL tools.

Rubin and Aven disagreed with Rosenthal. Hadoop, for the time being, cannot do interactive reporting, Rubin said. "I believe Hadoop has an interesting place, but not replacing the data warehouse." Aven also cited current Hadoop shortcomings, saying users still need a database to manage objects. "Hadoop's not there. It's a distributed file system with a compute layer."

This article, "NoSQL's real-time analytics, database consolidation entice enterprises," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.