What Does NoSQL Mean To You?

Noodling on NoSQL: Thoughts on Multi-Structured Data Management
DEC 26, 2012 9:01am ET

I am not such a fan of definitive definitions. For example, “something MUST be A, B and C to be XYZ” would not be one of my favorite concepts. While it is very reassuring to have this black and white structure on definition, the restrictions don’t allow for future growth. 

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Comments (2)
I'll give you the "no" and "not only" definitions as they do make sense. Personally I prefer to call it "schema-less" as a catch-all.

And I must point out that you left one of the biggest, and perhaps oldest, of them all off your list -- IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes). It has been around for 23 years (since 1989) and has a history going back another 15 or so prior to that! It is a document store, in the vein of Mongo and Couch.

Posted by Brad H | Monday, December 31 2012 at 8:16AM ET
So SQL is a set-based language for data retrieval. Whether SQL or something else is the "right" answer all comes down (as it always does) to what is required as the end result. Choose the appropriate tool for the job.

If highly structured data is to be managed then an implementation based on the Relational Model (and hence an SQL approach to retrieval) is arguably suitable.

If "unstructured" data (whatever that means) is to be managed then that should not automatically mean that a relational/SQL approach should be ignored, rather that the most appropriate model should be considered from a wider pool of models. That may or may not be an SQL approach or something else.

Being an advocate of the Relational Model (with a strong background in it) I would be the first to argue that the Relational Model should not be the automatic answer to everything, just as a NoSQL solution should not become the automatic answer to everything.

Is this any different to what has been going on ever since SQL was invented? I don't think so, I think it is just giving it a name.

Posted by Andrew D | Thursday, January 03 2013 at 4:57AM ET
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