The good, old-fashioned relational database, a well-understood technology with a known list of providers for two decades, has faced disruption since the turn of the millennium, and the disruption is peaking now. The rise of cloud applications, big data analytics, mobile computing, sophisticated content and asset management solutions, and social media have pushed the once dependable relational database to the edge of, and sometimes past, its abilities.
Because it was originally architected to work with hardware from yesteryear, the older relational database may struggle to take optimal advantage of the dramatic price/performance improvements and innovations found in adjunct technologies like multi-core processors and storage. Add in previously inconceivable requirements for scalability, plus the still substantial margins enjoyed by long-standing enterprise database providers, and modern database buyers have found motivation to look for fresh alternatives.
In the vacuum formed between older databases and new use cases, an explosion of roughly 50 new commercial and open source databases, often referred to collectively as "NoSQL databases," have come to market. The Enterprise Strategy Group prefers to interpret the term "NoSQL" to mean "Not Only SQL" given that many of the new databases do support Structured Query Language (SQL). But suffice it to say that pent-up demand to better address post-2000 use cases has produced a throng of new database choices. Yet therein lies another, ironic, challenge for the database buyer: too much choice. Fortunately, if you require enterprise-class features in a NoSQL database, the number of choices shrinks to a few. Read how MarkLogic stands out as a clear leader in the "Enterprise NoSQL" category.
Sponsor: MarkLogic Corporation