Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home

Michael Vizard, Journalist | 7/24/2013 | 3 comments

Michael Vizard
There's a revolution under way in the way documents are managed. Open-source platforms are rapidly replacing a host of proprietary systems as part of the rise of NoSQL databases in the enterprise.

Most enterprise IT organizations would generally prefer not to support additional database formats, but developers are demanding it. They need lightweight, hierarchical frameworks that are not nearly as complex or expensive to manage as the traditional SQL databases.

For example, the MongoDB open-source document database is being deployed at organizations such as Goldman Sachs and MetLife. "MongoDB fills the gap between file systems and relational databases that don't offer a lot of flexibility," Warren Finnerty, vice president of Goldman Sachs, told us. "It turns out, however, that the space between file systems and relational databases is pretty big."

His firm is using NOSQL to build everything from secure file-sharing services for users of mobile computing applications to social pipelines that will combine internal and external news feeds in one stream.

MetLife has announced that is has built a customer service application and a developer recruitment application based on MongoDB.

Merv Adrian, an industry analyst with Gartner, told us that document databases such as MongoDB, CouchDB, and MarkLogic are filling a void once occupied by departmental databases such as dBase. "We're seeing the emergence of a whole range of database and data stores. In the case of MongoDB, it's ideally suited for applications that require hierarchical structure of documents."

The new options are much more scalable than what they are replacing. But Finnerty said NoSQL was no easy sell within the financial services firm's IT organization. It was not overly excited about having to support yet another database platform. However, the gap between file systems that provide no real structure for building applications and traditional SQL databases that developers often find difficult to use was too wide to ignore.

Open-source NoSQL gave the firm an inexpensive way to build those applications without having to commit to proprietary formats. "The firm is very hesitant to lock into any one framework," Finnerty said. "We would only want to look into something that is open."

It's hard to say how big a void document databases ultimately will fill. Adrian expects it to be quite substantial. Developers are looking for more agile platforms that help them build applications quickly.

"These types of NoSQL databases are blowing up the whole idea that everything need to be stored in an RDBMS," he said. "A lot of these new database formats are going viral in the enterprise because developers using Javascript and JSON [JavaScript Object Notation] to build applications faster are forcing the issue."

Enterprise adoption of these database formats is likely to change the role of the database administrator. Adrian said that, instead of administering a single type of SQL database, DBAs will morph into data management architects. Each DBA probably will end up managing more varied types of database instances than ever, but advances in IT automation should make the cost of managing all those database instances substantially lower than it is today.

Of course, a number of security, management, and governance issues still need to be addressed with NoSQL databases. But with more developers starting to vote with their code, it's only a matter of time before document databases become a standard data management platform at more enterprises.

View Comments: Oldest First | Newest First | Threaded View
singlemud   Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home   7/26/2013 2:45:11 PM
RE:Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home
I saw NoSQL was thriving these days, the use case by these enterprise customers will definilty give it a boost.
Anand   Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home   7/28/2013 6:54:55 AM
Re : Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home
Unlike relational databases, NoSQL share less in the way of standards.  Each NoSQL database has its individual API, exclusive query interfaces, and peculiarities.  This lack of standards means it is impossible to switch from one vendor to another, if you become unsatisfied with the service.
zerox203   Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home   7/30/2013 6:53:42 AM
Re: Re : Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home
@Anand, Interesting... so, in some sense, the open option here can actually turn out to be more restrictive than the traditional option? Funny, that's one of the main drawing points for NoSQL the executive from Goldman Sachs mentioned when asked in the article - the open nature. I suppose this is not an inherent problem with NoSQL but rather a byproduct of the environment it's being sold in.  Or does something about the structure make this unavoidable (IE no open standard can exsist)?

Do you see this as a long-term/permanent problem for NoSQL? Do you think a truly open option/standard will come along eventually or is this really a trap that people are locking themselves into? Do you think the future for these kinds of databases lies elsewhere?

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