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Comparing NoSQL Databases with Object-Oriented Databases

Don White1 in an interview over odbms.org:

The new data systems are very data centric and are not trying to facilitate the melding of data and behavior. These new storage systems present a specific model abstractions and provide their own specific storage structure. In some cases they offer schema flexibility, but it is basically used to just manage data and not for building sophisticated data structures with type specific behavior.

Decoupling data from behavior allows both to evolve separately. Or differently put, it allows one to outlive the other.

Another intersting quote from the interview:

[…] why would you want to store data differently than how you intend to use it? I guess the simple answer is when you don’t know how you are going to use your data, so if you don’t know how you are going to use it then why is any data store abstraction better than another?

I guess this explains the 30 years dominance of relational databases. Not in the sense that we never knew how to use data, but rather that we always wanted to make sure we can use it in various ways.

And that explains also the direction NoSQL databases took:

To generalize it appears the newer stores make different compromises in the management of the data to suit their intended audience. In other words they are not developing a general purpose database solution so they are willing to make tradeoffs that traditional database products would/should/could not make. […] They do provide an abstraction for data storage and processing capabilities that leverage the idiosyncrasies of their chosen implementation data structures and/or relaxations in strictness of the transaction model to try to make gains in processing.


  1. Don White: senior development manager at Progress Software Inc., responsible for all feature development and engineering support for ObjectStore  

Original title and link: Comparing NoSQL Databases with Object-Oriented Databases (NoSQL databases © myNoSQL)