Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekly DBDebunk News

As most of my readers know, for various reasons I stay away from products and will occasionally touch on them only in a very specific context of data and relational fundamentals, in both the negative (e.g. false claims, violations, or errors) and positive (true and correct implementations) sense. For such purposes one needs the very rare combination of thorough product experience in actual practice and knowledge, understanding and appreciation of fundamentals. I happen to know a few such practitioners and I've asked them for input when necessary and they kindly agreed. So in the future expect to see some of their contributions.

Recently somebody requested in a LinkedIn database related group advice on how to select a DBMS. He received a few responses which included some important factors such as cost, support, development community and so on, but all were practically devoid of critical factors such as technical properties and, as one of my advisors pointed out, suitability of those to business needs. As another of my advisors correctly pointed out, this may have been OK several years ago, but not now, when the BigData/NoSQL fad is in full bloom and the circumstances seem to have regressed to the good old pre-relational days of IMS and CODASYL.

I have asked some of my advisors to offer their thoughts on DBMS selection and I am getting some interesting replies which provide evidence for the validity of my gut sense about these "DBMSs", which I will use in the appropriate contexts. It does look, though, like even with my limited knowledge of NoSQL products, the gist of my impression about them seem to have been spot on: "we don't know much about the data and what we logically need to do with it, except that it's a lot of it and we want to store it physically in such ways that will maximize the performance of those operations that we hope to discover we need."

Stay tuned.

I have added a TRDBMS links section (bottom right). It currently includes Dataphor and Rel, both are implementations of Date & Darwen's Tutorial D (which is intended to be a full development language with intergrated relational capabilities). The former is an industrial strength open source TRDBMS used by the Database Consulting Group. The latter is currently an educational vehicle that is being developed into a product. Both are free, so you can get a feel of what for what a truly relational product looks like/can do relative to SQL and the new wave of products claiming to be improvements over it.

Have a good weekend.

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