Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slacker DBs in the Cloud Base

In my view, another reason Larry Ellison diss'd Cloud Computing last year (even though he promoted "Thin Clients" a decade ago, but completely overlooked the necessary infrastructure to support it: aka the cloud), is that he's afraid of how it might negatively impact sales of the ORACLE RDBMS. Why? Most of the world's data is not in relational form, and never will be. More importantly, Google knows this. (Think MapReduce)

One of the first people to see this coming was relational database academic, Joe Hellerstein at UCB. In his 2001 talk entitled "We Lose" (PDF slides), slide 5 contains the gist of his prescient observations:

  • Grassroots use Filesystems, not DBs
  • Grassroots use App servers, not ORDBs
  • Grassroots write Java, PERL, Python, PHP, ... NOT SQL!

He defines Grassroots as: "Hackers. But also DBMS engineers, Berkeley grads, Physicists, etc."

Now, somewhere in between are Slacker Databases: "Amazon SimpleDB, Apache CouchDB, Google App Engine, and Persevere, offering far greater simplicity than SQL, may have a better way of storing data for Web apps." Hellerstein was more right than he could've known.

No comments: