Best of both worlds?

Can NuoDB make relational databases cool again?

Chris Mayer

The high performance distributed NewSQL database has notched up its second big release since January. Will its new migration tool take a dent out of Oracle?

With the rise of the NoSQL database in the last decade, the
number of people wanting to dabble with nonrelational datastores is
undeniably increasing. Yet moving across from the familiar SQL
surroundings of a relational database can often be a traumatic
process, due to the starkly different models. Many organisations
will ignore the lure of NoSQL entirely, opting for the safety of
strong transactions instead.

Consequently, another set of databases are gaining prominence.
The nauseatingly-coined NewSQL database crowd aim to be the best of
both worlds, providing the scalability benefits NoSQL databases
claim but with the tried and trusted ACID and SQL query
capabilities of a relational counterpart.

is one such example of this modern architectural rethink.
Founded by Barry Morris and Jim Starkey two years ago, the company
went GA with their “zero downtime” cloud-based system in January.
This week, the self-proclaimed NewSQL leader clocked up their
second update of the fledgling distributed database, complete with
support for new drivers and frameworks. The Starlings 1.2 release
also introduces SQL-based syntax, which includes “a pluggable
language model” that can support Java, .NET and

The standout new arrival however is the preview
, NuoDB’s high-performance data
replication engine for MySQL, that includes global transaction IDs
to support failover and sharding. The
project supports a live replication of a
MySQL databases to NuoDB, and the two running

Speaking to
Application Development Trends
, NuoDB co-founder
Barry Morris
said he believes
the NoSQL guys threw the baby out with the

“Just because traditional SQL databases don’t
scale, that doesn’t mean that SQL doesn’t scale. It means that the
old designs don’t scale.”

In July, NuoDB went on a charm offensive towards
organisations still reliant on SQL
, with
the unveiling of a b
eta migration
. The open source tool allows companies to
part with their traditional database system (MySQL, Microsoft SQL
Server, IBM DB2, PostgreSQL and Oracle RDBMS) for NuoDB

with minimum fuss. Plenty of NoSQL companies,
DataStax and 10gen for example, have realised
importance of
that providing a relatively
pain-free transition between the monolithic structures of old to
the flashy modern alternative.

NuoDB could well be onto a winner by providing a
halfway house for scaling out, but is in equal danger of being lost
in the noise created by NoSQL solutions such MongoDB and Cassandra.
Morris told the
last month that NuoDB had worked with “20-to-30”
customers looking to move away. While this figure shouldn’t be
written off, there needs to be a large increase if NuoDB and others
really want to see Oracle’s empire crumble.

NuoDB comes in three flavours - an
free open source project, a commercial pay-as-you-scale version and
an Amazon Web Services ‘Cloud’ Edition.

nuodb nuodb

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