Death Knoll for Relational Databases ??
Well the subject line maybe a bit premature but I was investigating the new Windows Azure platform and when reading about the SQL Data Services the first thing that jumped into my head was could this be a small but major step in the decline of relational databases. For years OO databases have been touted as the grim reaper for relational databases but none have really broken into the mainstream, enter SQL Data Services.
As its a cloud service its got great scalability & capacity, its got communication (HTTP) covered with both REST & SOAP and finally its just part of the greater MS ecosystem for development support so you can use all the favorites such as Visual Studio, C#, etc. This all helps to lower MS’s entry into cloud computing as developers use familiar tools to develop applications.
So why a replacement for relational databases well just a few points,
- It follows a more abstract model with Authorities (~Server), Containers (~Database) & Entities (~Rows). Entities just define one instance of data and are stored in a generic name\value property bag.
- There really is no fixed schema in the containers or the Entitites just put in what you like.
- Bound to see ORMs being developed to query\update the entities making it easy to work with for devs and should see more maturity in projects such as Prevayler.
- Has internet scale which easily goes horizontal which can be done but is difficult with regular SQL Server.
- No items such as stored procs, identity columns & referential integrity. This forces people into thinking about their domains, entities, repositories, factories, services, etc. and this whole concept has really matured with the advent of Domain Driven Design.
- Distributed cache will really help to make this whole thing work and you can see Microsoft are working on their own one called, Velocity
- Its not just Microsoft look at Amazons SimpleDB service
- Folks should still worry about performance but focus more on the business as massive performance gains in the future with the likes of Intels Dunnington Six cores on one chip.
I guess the really question is can the individual companies and the industry as a whole glue all these things together to bring around the demise of the relational database? Well I reckon there’s a better than 50/50 chance that within the decade it will become evident that they are sliding and look to no further proof of that but all Oracle acquisitions over the past few years.