Database drama: Relational or NoSQL? How to find the best choice for you

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Research conducted by Forrester and commissioned by EnterpriseDB (EDB) has found nearly half (42%) of respondents are struggling to manage the NoSQL solutions deployed in their environments.

The study sheds more light on the NoSQL vs relational database discussion facing companies looking to store data today. NoSQL providers will explain their technology is pivotal to deal with increasing changes in terms of processing power, scale and speed; yet according to EDB, relational database providers are slowly clawing back ground and are evolving to support new data capabilities.

Statistics from the report make for interesting reading:

  • A third (30%) of respondents said data stored in NoSQL solutions was creating data siloes
  • 36% said they want to link their unstructured data with their structured data most of the time
  • More than half (52%) said they were unable to prevent developers from deploying new apps on separate NoSQL databases

It’s worth noting here that the majority of the survey results point towards one database to solve all needs – and lo and behold, EDB is pushing out a solution which does exactly that. Yet the more interesting takeaway is the position of relational databases – traditionally the older, poorer relation to the NoSQL players – in the discussion.

Bob Wiederhold, CEO of NoSQL vendor Couchbase, who most recently worked to scale Facebook hit game Cookie Jam, told this publication back in 2013 that NoSQL will “dominate and ultimately…cause Oracle, IBM, SAP and others to have a very difficult time.”

Yet EDB seems to disagree. “Relational databases – and Postgres especially – have responded to changing data demands and incorporated capabilities for managing unstructured data as well as traditional structured data types,” said EDB chief exec Ed Boyajian in a statement.

“Today’s applications are more demanding, and using multiple different database solutions to support them creates problems with usability, adds cost and complexity and poses greater risk for the enterprise,” he added.

Elsewhere, SQL database management providers NuoDB has put out a relational database competitive analysis chart, comparing each vendor to various capabilities including availability, programming languages and multi-tenancy among others. Naturally, NuoDB puts itself firmly at the top of the pile, but it’s still an interesting examination, which can be seen here.

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