RDBMS offers a consistent way of modeling data. Relational algebra underlies the data model. The theory is well established and implementation is standardized. Therefore, consistent ways of modeling and normalizing data is well understood and documented. In the NoSQL world there is no such standardized and well-defined data model. This is because all NoSQL products do not intend to solve the same problem or have the same architecture. If you need an RDBMS-centric data model for storage and querying and cannot under any circumstances step outside those definitions, just don’t use NoSQL. If, however, you are happy with SQL-type querying but can accommodate non-relational storage models, you have a few NoSQL options to choose from.

Document databases, like MongoDB, provide a gradual adoption path from formal RDBMS models to lose document-centric models. MongoDB supports SQL-like querying, rudimentary relational references, and database objects that draw a lot of inspiration from the standard table- and column based model. If relaxed schema is your primary reason for using NoSQL, then MongoDB is a great option for getting started with NoSQL.

MongoDB is used by many web-centric businesses. Foursquare is perhaps its most celebrated user. Shutterfl y,, etsy, and sourceforge are a few other users that add feathers to MongoDB’s cap. In many of these use cases MongoDB is preferred because it supports a flexible data model and offers speedy reads and writes. Web applications often evolve rapidly and it often gets cumbersome for developers to continuously change underlying RDBMS models, especially when the changes are frequent and at times drastic. Added to the schema change challenges are the issues relating to data migration. MongoDB has good support for web framework integration. Rails, one of the most popular web application frameworks, can be used effectively with MongoDB. The data from Rails applications can be persisted via an object mapper. Therefore, MongoDB can easily be used in place of an RDBMS. Read about Rails 3 integration at

For Java web developers, Spring offers fi rst-class support for MongoDB via its Spring Data project. Read more about the Spring Data Document release that supports MongoDB at Spring Data project, in fact, adds support for a number of NoSQL products, and not just MongoDB. It integrates Spring with Redis, Riak, CouchDB, Neo4j, and Hadoop. Get more details online at the Spring Data project homepage, which is MongoDB acts like a persistent cache, where data is kept in memory and flushed to disk as required. Therefore, MongoDB could also be thought of as an intermediate option between an RDBMS and an in-memory store or a flat file structure. Many web applications like real-time analytics, comments system, ratings storage, content management software, user data system, and event logging applications benefit from the fluid schema that MongoDB offers. Added to that, such applications enjoy MongoDB’s RDBMS-like querying capabilities and its ability to segregate data into collections that resemble tables.

Apache CouchDB is a document database alternative to MongoDB. Apache CouchDB is now available as Couchbase server, with the primary creators of CouchDB having recently merged their company, CouchOne, with Membase, Inc. Couchbase offers a packaged version of Apache CouchDB with GeoCouch and support in the form of Couchbase Server.

Couchbase Server epitomizes adherence to web standards. Couchbase’s primary interface to the data store is through RESTful HTTP interactions and is more web-centric than any database has ever been. Couchbase includes a web server as a part of the data store. It is built on top of Erlang OTP. This means you could effectively create an entire application using Couchbase. Future versions of Couchbase will be adding access to the data store through the Memcached protocol, gaining from Membase’s ability to manage speed and throughput with a working set. Couchbase also plans to scale up, growing from Membase’s elastic capabilities to seamlessly span across more nodes. Although Couchbase is very powerful and feature-rich, it has a very small footprint. Its nimble nature makes it appropriate for installation on a smartphone or an embedded device. Read more about mobile Couchbase at couchbase.

Couchbase models support REST-style data management. A database in CouchDB can contain JSON format documents, with additional metadata or supporting artifacts as attachments. All operations on data — create, retrieve, update, and delete — are performed via RESTful HTTP requests. Long-running complex queries across replicated Couchbase servers leverage MapReduce.

Not Just a Map
In typical in-memory databases and caches, the most well-known data structure is a map or a hash. A map stores key/value pairs and allows for fast and easy access to data. In-memory NoSQL stores provide filesystem-backed persistence of in-memory data. This means that stored data survives a system reboot. Many NoSQL in-memory databases support data structures beyond just maps, making using them for more than simple cache data extremely attractive. At the most basic level, Berkeley DB stores pairs of binary key/value pairs. The underlying store itself does not attach any metadata to the stored key/value pairs. Layers on top of basic storage, like the persistence API or the object wrappers, allow persistence of higher-level abstractions to a Berkeley DB store.

Membase, on the other hand, supports the Memcached protocol, both text and binary, and adds features around distributed replica management and consistent hashing on top of the basic key/value store. Membase also adds the ability to grow and shrink the number of servers as part of a cluster without interrupting client access. Redis takes a slightly different approach. It supports most popular data structures out of the box. In fact, it is defined as a “data structure” server. Redis supports lists, sets, sorted sets, and strings in addition to maps. Redis has even added transactionlike capabilities to specify atomicity across a number of discrete operations.

If your use case gains from using a file-backed in-memory NoSQL product, consider the supported data models to make a choice on the best fi t. In many cases, a key/value storage is enough, but if you need more than that look at Berkeley DB, Membase, and Redis. If you need a powerful and stable distributed key/value store to support large user and activity load, you are not likely to go wrong with Membase.

What about HBase and Hypertable?
In the previous section on scalability, I gave my entire vote in favor of the column-family stores. When it comes to supporting the rich data models, though, these are generally not the most favorable choices. The upfront choice of row-keys for lookup and only column-family-centric model metadata support is usually considered inadequate. With a powerful abstraction layer on top of column-family stores, a lot becomes possible.

Google started the column-family store revolution. Google also created the data modeling
abstraction on top of its column-family store for its very popular app engine. The GAE data modeling support provides rich data modeling using Python and Java. With the DataNucleus JDO and JPA support, you can use the popular object modeling abstractions in Java to persist data to HBase and Hypertable. You can also draw inspiration from the non-relational support in Django that works well on the app engine.

Source of Information : NoSQL


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