It has been clear for a long time that relational databases are ill-suited for analytical processing. The problem is fundamental: relational databases are designed to retrieve all elements from a few records, while analytical queries typically read all records but only a few elements. Until recently, database developers were able to overcome the problem with clever design and powerful hardware. Today, the largest databases - hundreds or thousands of terabytes - are too big for this to work at an acceptable price. Thus, the quest for alternatives is on.
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