We have previously speculated at The 451 Group about Oracle’s potential to respond to the growing adoption of NoSQL databases, noting that the company had a number of options at its disposal, including Berkeley DB and projects like HandlerSocket.
While some may wonder about the potential impact of Oracle NoSQL (based indeed on Berkeley DB) on the existing NoSQL vendors, I believe the launch says something very significant about NoSQL itself: specifically that its adoption is driven by more than the nature of the query language.
To get a sense of why Oracle NoSQL is significant, think about the way Oracle has traditionally responded to alternative approaches that threaten the relational model and its dominance thereof. Oracle’s approach has traditionally been to subsume the alternative approach, at least in part, into Oracle Database, nullifying the competitive threat.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison explained the approach himself on a recent call with investors:
“We think that data should be integrated with a single database technology. That’s always been our strategy for Oracle. And it started as a relational database then we added objects, then we added text and then we’ve added a variety of other things like video and audio to the Oracle Database. We think that should be unified and that’s how we’re approaching the problem.”
As we recently covered (451 clients only), Oracle is in the process of replicating this strategy with MySQL, adding support for the ability to directly access MySQL’s InnoDB and MySQL’s Cluster’s NDB storage engines using the memcached API.
This ability to perform non-SQL querying of the database is part of the agility benefit of NoSQL, and if the term NoSQL were to be taken literally would perhaps be enough to discourage would-be NoSQL adopters from turning away from MySQL.
As our NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond report highlighted, however, agility is just one of six key trends we see driving adoption of NoSQL databases. Scalability, performance, relaxed consistency, intricacy and necessity will not be solved by the ability to query MySQL or MySQL Cluster using the memcached API.
The launch of Oracle NoSQL is therefore a clear indication that there are trends at work here that cannot be solved by adding non-SQL querying to existing relational databases.
There is another significant factor here, which is the fact that Oracle has chose to name the product NoSQL. In one simple naming move the company has effectively disarmed the NoSQL ‘movement’.
We have previously noted that existing NoSQL vendors were turning away from the term in favor of emphasizing their individual strengths. How many of them are going to want to self-identify with an Oracle product? I’m not convinced any of them believe the brand is worth fighting for.