#Blogscape

Read about and comment on the latest tech trends, architecture, data automation and analytics from our point of view.

At MongoDB World 2016

A World of Not-Only SQL

On June 28th StreamScape sponsored an annual conference put on by the great folks at MongoDB, one of the industry's leading NoSQL database vendors.  A great event with strong attendance by technologists across many disciplines.  Our team met with consultants, visual analysis tool providers, Data Architects, Analysts, Application Developers and Operations staff interested in learning about MongoDB, NoSQL technologies and how they fit into the world of Data Integration and Analysis.

As we shared opinions, philosophies and jokes several recurring themes emerged.  With alternative data management solutions becoming mainstream, architects and developer teams are faced with familiar challenges.

Return of the Hierarchical Database

Although we currently refer to non-tabular, non-SQL databases as Document-Oriented or Schema-Free, this description is not entirely accurate. Before relational databases with their tabular schema arrived on the scene, allowing you to define data dependencies dynamically, using a declarative language; most data management systems used hierarchical (tree structure) schema, organizing data elements into static objects, indexed records or documents.

Pioneered by IBM in the 1960's and widely adopted, hierarchical databases like IMS, IDMS, MUMPS or FOCUS dominated the landscape well into the 1990's. These technologies were considered "schema-less" and non-SQL and mostly ran on large mainframe-style computers and were accessible via Time-Sharing facilities offered by Service Bureaus that provided computing software as a service. Look at how far we have come. Wink wink.

Today's non-SQL databases have a lot more in common with the older, non-relational technologies then they care to admit.  There is unquestionable value in being able to work with data hierarchies expressed as XML or JSON.  Schema definition and querying of data hierarchies is quite another story.  Transactional control, concurrency and partial document update becomes a challenge. And working with nested-documents gets quite complex.  Which is why none of the older technologies fully supported these capabilities.

Still, developers welcome any opportunity to work with data in application-native format and presenting data to Web Applications as JSON makes a lot of sense. It reduces the amount of data-munging that needs to occur in applications. And it dramatically reduces the number of network trips to the back-end system, making for faster and more responsive apps.

Much like their older cousins, MongoDB and other NoSQL databases eliminate the need for JOINs, trading query flexibility for performance. For simple data aggregation and storage, few technologies come close to the performance and price point of a non-SQL database.

MongoDB has gone to great lengths to take the complexity out of hierarchical databases. Proving that Big Data does not have to mean Big Software. But there are some practical challenges and limitations that make global adoption difficult.

Modeling Schema-Free Data

Marketing aside, all data management systems have schema. Whether it's a table, a tree or a collection of files in a directory, it's a schema. All data must have a schema because if you cannot describe it, you cannot query it. The big deal with Schema-Free is that you can define data structures that can be changed on the fly.

Relational databases make column removal hard and adding a column is typically only allowed at the end of a row, imposing strict limitations on schema definition. Adding nested elements requires use of an ARRAY type in databases that support it, or the creation of another table with a foreign key.  Complex stuff.

MongoDB and similar NoSQL technologies give users the flexibility to define and change schema on a per-document basis.  So you can have a collection of similar data elements or just a bunch of unrelated docs.

The flexibility of this approach is also its greatest weakness.  Without a common schema, a document collection is like a drawer of mis-matched socks.   Analysis becomes difficult.  As document schema evolve, indexing, query and management of missing fields becomes a Sisyphean task.   Creating a unified schema that includes other data sources also becomes impossible.

A common feedback from architects and database administrators is that NoSQL technologies empower application developers while making data integration, maintenance and migration a challenge. As such there is an increasing need for technologies that can assist with NoSQL data modeling, schema enforcement and other data governance capabilities that will make the NoSQL database a first-class citizen.

Common Query Language

Another recurring theme was the polyglot nature of current database technologies. One of the things NoSQL shares with the hierarchical databases of old is a lack of a standardized query language.  This limitation was one of the key reasons why relational databases became popular in the first place.  Providing standards around hierarchical data query is critical to long term success of NoSQL. The industry seems to be adapting by promoting a hybrid model that allows users to query portions of documents (segments) using SQL.  But we are a long ways off from any standardized query that a non-programmer type can understand.

Of course the current technologies are evolving and I expect that we will see similar debates on the subject as we had in the the 1980's about SQL. That should be quite exciting. For now we will have to make do with tools that complement MongoDB and other NoSQL technologies; and provide a common query engine on top of various disparate data sources.


Comments 13

 
nathan dwyer on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 03:28

A debt of gratitude is in order for imparting this best stuff to us! Continue sharing! I am new in the website writing.All sorts online journals and posts are not useful for the readers.Here the writer is giving great musings and recommendations to every last perusers through this article.Quality of the substance is the principle component of the site and this is the method for composing and presenting.Waiting for again magnificent sites or posts. writer @ custom essay writing service

A debt of gratitude is in order for imparting this best stuff to us! Continue sharing! I am new in the website writing.All sorts online journals and posts are not useful for the readers.Here the writer is giving great musings and recommendations to every last perusers through this article.Quality of the substance is the principle component of the site and this is the method for composing and presenting.Waiting for again magnificent sites or posts. writer @ [url=https://rospher.com/]custom essay writing service[/url]
Walker Martin on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 09:41

NoSQL is an extremely expansive term that doesn't allude to one specific database model. Or maybe, Online Essay Writers it refers to an entire wide range of models that don't fit into the social model.

NoSQL is an extremely expansive term that doesn't allude to one specific database model. Or maybe, [url=http://www.hireessaywriter.com/]Online Essay Writers[/url] it refers to an entire wide range of models that don't fit into the social model.
Tavia on Saturday, 14 April 2018 12:55

MongoDB World 2016 was one of my favorite events I have been to. I was there to learn how to write my assignment properly and I was able to learn that quite easily there. I am glad that I went there with my close mates.

MongoDB World 2016 was one of my favorite events I have been to. I was there to learn how to [url=https://www.assignmentgeek.com.au/]write my assignment[/url] properly and I was able to learn that quite easily there. I am glad that I went there with my close mates.
Tahurer on Monday, 16 April 2018 14:05

Australia is known for many things and one of them is their essay writers. I think that they have amazing writings in https://myassignmentwriter.com.au/australianwritings-review/ and I need to appreciate them.

Australia is known for many things and one of them is their essay writers. I think that they have amazing writings in [url=https://myassignmentwriter.com.au/australianwritings-review/]https://myassignmentwriter.com.au/australianwritings-review/[/url] and I need to appreciate them.
Tahurer on Friday, 27 July 2018 16:59

This is very useful, although it will be important to help simply click that web page link: Sexual Questions

This is very useful, although it will be important to help simply click that web page link: [url=https://www.relationshipeguide.com/sexual-questions-to-ask-a-guy]Sexual Questions[/url]
Tahurer on Friday, 27 July 2018 19:29

On this page you can read my interests, write something special. Make Her Horny

On this page you can read my interests, write something special. [url=https://www.relationshipeguide.com/how-to-make-her-horny]Make Her Horny[/url]
Tahurer on Friday, 27 July 2018 19:35

Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have. Horny

Great info! I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have. [url=https://www.languageofdesires.com/11-ways-tell-woman-horny-instantly]Horny[/url]
Tahurer on Saturday, 28 July 2018 13:36

You should mainly superior together with well-performing material, which means that see it: How To Ride A Guy

You should mainly superior together with well-performing material, which means that see it: [url=https://www.languageofdesires.com/how-to-ride-guy-sex-positions]How To Ride A Guy[/url]
Tahurer on Saturday, 28 July 2018 13:42

On my website you'll see similar texts, write what you think. Stroke of Genius

On my website you'll see similar texts, write what you think. [url=https://www.languageofdesires.com/stroke-of-genius-review]Stroke of Genius[/url]
Tahurer on Saturday, 28 July 2018 13:48

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises... Unlock Her Legs

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises... [url=https://www.languageofdesires.com/unlock-her-legs-review]Unlock Her Legs[/url]
Tahurer on Sunday, 29 July 2018 14:26

This is exciting, nevertheless it is vital for you to visit this specific url: Guy Magnet System

This is exciting, nevertheless it is vital for you to visit this specific url: [url=https://www.relationshipeguide.com/guy-magnet-system-review-by-james-scott]Guy Magnet System[/url]
Tahurer on Sunday, 29 July 2018 14:35

During this website, you will see this shape, i highly recommend you learn this review. Obsession Phrases

During this website, you will see this shape, i highly recommend you learn this review. [url=https://www.relationshipeguide.com/obsession-phrases-review]Obsession Phrases[/url]
Tahurer on Sunday, 29 July 2018 14:41

It is very good, but look at the information at this address. Revive Her Drive

It is very good, but look at the information at this address. [url=https://www.relationshipeguide.com/revive-her-drive-review]Revive Her Drive[/url]
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

  Login

Login to access additional content such as white papers, on-line docs, Wiki and product downloads.