There is a young upstart in the world of data management these days, eager to take on the establishment and show how things can be done differently – NoSQL. There are four major categories of NoSQL databases and increasingly they are gaining ground in the enterprise. The four key database types that fall under the NoSQL category are Key-Value stores which allow the storage of schema-less data, with a key and actual data, Column family databases, which store data within columns, Graph databases which employ structures with nodes, edges and properties to store data, and Document Databases, which enable simple storage of document aggregates.
What are the advantages of NoSQL databases? They can run on commodity hardware, and they support the unstructured, non-relational data flowing into organizations from the proliferation of social media, emails, multimedia files, the Internet of Things, and other new sources. Why are these approaches gaining ground? Because the pressure is strong to compete on analytics and leverage big data, using all the information available to make better decisions faster to take advantage of new business opportunities and better understand customer sentiment as well as detect problems ahead and spot anomalies.
The NoSQL landscape is still in its early days but the trend is building. Unisphere Research studies show that a leading reason for a big data initiative is predictive analytics. This requires the ability to access and understand the vast reservoir of unstructured data flowing through their systems.
Here are the winners of the 2014 DBTA Readers' Choice Awards for Best NoSQL Database: