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New SQL Databases – Handling Big Data in a Brand-New Way

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Big data is the new buzzword dominating the information management sector for a while by mandating many enhancements in IT systems and databases to handle this new revolution. Even though there are many information management systems made available to the users, here we will share an expert perspective on the new type of DBs, named NewSQL, in light of the big data that needs to be used in OLTP systems.

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Looking into the database management landscape of our times, the volume of data is soaring everywhere. Based on a Gartner study, the data we used to create back in 2010 was about 1,200 exabytes, which had grown to 8,000 exabytes by 2015 and then multifold after that, with web and internet being the primary data drivers. However, data growth is significantly outpacing the growth of storage systems, which mandates the emergence of innovative information management systems in which data storage can be done in a distributed way, but can be easily accessed and analyzed as it can be in a single machine DBs.

Distributed storage model

Besides effectively handling the increasing data size, distributed storage solutions can also cater to the increasing performance needs of the new-generation applications to make sure of the timeliness of data processed. However, increased processing power may not translate directly into faster data access, which triggered a rethink on the existing data models.

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To understand this enormity of data size, we may consider the below examples

  • Facebook has to store about 135 billion messages in a given month
  • Twitter faces the challenges of sorting about 7 TB data per day, and this volume is doubling up every year

So, the criticality of data and continuity of data availability is becoming more and more critical now. We need data to be available 24×7 and to be accessed quickly from anywhere.

This brings forth the requirement for the third dimension of database administration to ensure durability and high availability. For this, we have to factor in the high availability by ensuring that they are no single point of failure. Addressing all these challenges has contributed to this new wave in database management systems of NewSQL, which can manage structured and unstructured data well and bring the pros of both relational and NoSQL database systems on board.

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Welcome to NewSQL DBMS

To effectively address the big-data OLTP scenarios which cannot be addressed by the OLTP and NoSQL systems, NewSQL has evolved as an alternative database system. NewSQL used to be categorized as a new alternative to the existing database systems, which acts as a shorthand of the various scalable and high-performing SQL DBs. To give it clarity about the term NewSQL, as the providers say, it should not be taken in the literal meaning as in NoSQL.

Instead, NewSQL is a set of different high-performance and scalable SQL DB vendors. These vendors have effectively designed this solution to bring forth the solutions to bring along the advantages of the relational model to the distributed database architecture to improve the RDBMS systems’ performance by ensuring scalability is not a concern. For remote database administration, you may rely on the service offered by the RemoteDBA experts.

Technical specs of NewSQL DB solutions

  • SQL is the primary backend mechanism for NewSQL application interaction.
  • It offers ACID support for data transactions.
  • The non-locking concurrency control mechanism, which reads real-time with no conflict with writes and can also cause them to stall.
  • Architecture offering a higher per-node performance compared to what is available from the traditional relational database management solutions.
  • A scale-out architecture, which can run on multiple nodes without creating any bottlenecks.

It is also noted that NewSQL systems are nearly 50 times faster than the OLTP RDBMS. Similar to the NoSQL DBs, there are many categories of NewSQL solutions. Let us look into these categorizations and characteristics.

NewSQL categorization is primarily based on various vendors’ approaches to preserve an SQL interface and address the performance and scalability requirements of the OLTP solutions.

The NewSQL systems are designed from scratch to ensure both performance and scalability. Some minor changes to the codes may be required, and data migration is also needed to get on to the NewSQLDBs. One key consideration to make for improving performance is to create a non-disk or new disk kinds as the primary data store. The solutions can be simply software only as VoltDB and NuoDB etc. or supported as appliances like Clustrix or Translattice. Examples of the offerings are like NuoDB, Clustrix, and Translattice for commercial.

Provided that there is a continuing trend in data growth in the OLTP systems, unlike NoSQL, the NewSQL DBMSs also cater to the applications written for previous generation RDBMS. Considering these facts, NewSQL is ideal for the enterprises planning to:

  • Migrate the existing database applications to get adapted to new trends based on the extensive growth in data.
  • Those who plan to develop new business applications on highly scalable OLTP systems rely on the existing OLTP usage.

Even though NewSQL offers both worlds the best to take the features of both the conventional relational database management systems and the NoSQL systems are concerned, there are certain downsides on considering NewSQL. The primary challenge of considering this brand-new category of the database is the lack of expertise.

Being new to the database paradigm, you may not find any highly skilled or expert professionals to take your database administration needs at best. It is also a fact that the database architecture models of NewSQL, while you are attempting to set up a new database on it, are not fully developed yet.

As the SQL solutions are being used as the backend, it may also incur some cost when considering a new database setup on NewSQL. Most importantly, the NewSQL set of databases is only at their infancy stage now, which will take much more time to mature and develop as full-fledged database solutions to contribute towards guaranteed enterprise success.

However, given the benefits it had unveiled to this point, we can say that NewSQL is indeed promising and highly featured compared to its predecessors.