General Musing

blaze your trail

The Original No NoSQL – Springboard to the Future #database

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Having worked without RDBMS for much of the beginning of my carrier I have always been confused by people’s love of relational databases, in my mind they are merely a collection of CSV files with relationships, with some of extended capabilities that all other databases have such as indices and caching. I love that the concept of something that is not a Relational Database, or a complicated Key-Value store, has found it’s place in the world and it’s called NoSQL.

And didn’t we already have a solution which matched the requirements: scalable, ordered, hierarchical, sharded, consistent, atomic, distributed and object? And wasn’t it a key-value and document database with graph capabilities? An engineer wisely said: “Relational databases give you too much. They force you to twist your object data to fit a RDBMS.” What system doesn’t force you to twist your object data and still allows you to maintain the objects in the way you desire?

When we faced this issue we were having much trouble with a traditional database vendor and the mail software they were producing, we wanted to extend the capabilities of this software and not be reliant on the on-disk mailstores they provided. Mail should be stored distributed and be approachable from different angles, whether it is with a traditional POP3 client – the norm; a HTTP browser – emerging; or a IMAP4 client – which in those days was hideously complicated as the RFC had some features which were almost impossible to implement easily. We also wanted to be able to add USENET – which had the same format which we also wanted to be able to store, and even chat – be it IRC or private messaging. And while we were at it we might as well add FTP in the mix.

The external connections would be implemented in an Enterprise Service Bus design pattern, and the storage part was what posed the real problem. All of the data would need to be secure, distributed and/or sharded over multiple locations for efficiency and security. And with security as our first demand we thought of an open standard which we and almost the whole planet used and uses for their internal authentication. A database which has a key-value store at the core, based on a protocol extension written in round about 1993 and optimized in 1996. A database idea so SMART that every huge large software company in the world sells it: LDAP.

“LDAP?” I hear you cry, “That’s No NoSQL!” And you’d be right!

Image source: LinkedIn NoSQL Group

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

October 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Posted in business, database, IT, security

Tagged with ,

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