First look: Oracle NoSQL Database
Oracle's take on the distributed key-value data store is fast, flexible, and enterprise-grade seriousFollow @peterwayner
To test the speed of Oracle NoSQL, I concocted a low-end test that put more stress on the database engine than on the networking. I started up the single-node NoSQL server, then stuffed in 358,400 keys attached to values that were strings with about 30 characters in them. This ran in about 119 seconds on an old, underpowered Mac. Using an older machine with a small amount of RAM is one way to test performance under limited resources.
As a comparison, I stuffed the same pairs into a new version of Voldemort, an open source Java-based NoSQL server from LinkedIn that doesn't offer ACID promises. It took 180 seconds on the same machine.
I was happy with this admittedly simple test because storing data in Oracle NoSQL seems to involve a bit of overhead. Creating the keys requires building arrays of strings, and object instantiation is often the bottleneck for Java code. It didn't seem to matter in these tests.
In all, Oracle NoSQL was a pleasure to try because it offered so many serious features developed by a company with a deep history of serious data management. There are dozens of small ways in which the tool is more thorough and sophisticated than the simpler NoSQL projects. You get a number of different options for increasing the durability in the face of a node crash or trading that durability for speed. The documentation is solid and written by working engineers with deep experience in storing data for enterprise customers.
Oracle NoSQL might not offer the heady fun and "just build it" experimentation of many of the pure open source NoSQL projects, but that's not really its role. Oracle borrowed the best ideas from these groups and built something that will deliver good performance to the sweet spot of the enterprise market.
There is one way, though, that Oracle NoSQL Database departs from Oracle's long tradition. I've always found it difficult and occasionally impossible to install Oracle's main database and get it running. The open source community, by contrast, has always done a better job of smoothing this process. Some say the most important thing MySQL did right was testing and retesting the installation until it was bulletproof and simple.
The Oracle NoSQL Database clearly came from a development team with experience in open source tradition. The only installation headache I had went away when I changed
127.0.0.1. That's quite an improvement. I would trade SQL joins for simpler installation any day.
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