Oracle works both sides of the SQL/NoSQL street

While continuing to push SQL, Oracle makes accommodations for newer technologies, including NoSQL and JSON

It's no secret that Oracle became very successful by selling relational database technology anchored by the venerable SQL standard. These days, SQL is being pushed out of the limelight by concepts like NoSQL, which is not confined by the rows and tables paradigm of the RDBMS. Oracle, however, is stepping up its strategy of staying current by accommodating new data management concepts like JSON while continuing to push its legacy SQL technology.

Speaking at the NoSQL Now conference in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Oracle's Andrew Mendelsohn, executive vice president for database server technologies, started out by emphasizing that relational database technology is still strong after 40 years. SQL and relational databases built a huge ecosystem by providing a standard language that is pretty much the same between providers and works for software vendors and developers, Mendelsohn explained. "If you wrote a SQL application back in the '80s or the '90s, that SQL application continues to work as we move through all these different computing generations."

Then Mendelsohn outlined Oracle's list of accommodations for multiple types of unstructured data beyond the relational realm. With Oracle Database 12c, Oracle is handling JSON, text, XML, spatial, graph, and multimedia data. JSON capabilities were featured in the release of the database, which arrived last month. "You can store JSON documents in columns of an Oracle database," with the columns schema-less, Mendelsohn said. JSON is considered a lightweight alternative to XML and the data structure of the Web.

Additionally, Oracle has made accommodations for both Hadoop and NoSQL. Oracle announced its Oracle NoSQL database a year ago and is pledging innovations across NoSQL, Hadoop, and relational technologies. The company also is playing in the big data hardware space, with its Oracle Big Data Appliance, engineered for NoSQL and Hadoop.

Later this year, Oracle will release a driver for Node.js, for server-side JavaScript, Mendelsohn said. Last month, Oracle unveiled Big Data SQL, a tool that can run a SQL query against Oracle's data store, as well as Hadoop and NoSQL stores. The software is an option for the Big Data Appliance.

Oracle's don't-sweat-it-we'll-be-there-too attitude about new technologies that encroach on Oracle's venerable SQL database has been in force for years now. Several years ago, the open source MySQL database was considered a formidable threat to Oracle's commercial RDBMS, but it worked out for Oracle after Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL in 2008 and Oracle, in turn, acquired Sun two years later.

This story, "Oracle works both sides of the SQL/NoSQL street," 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 developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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