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NoSQL Smackdown at SXSW

The Changelog guys have ☞ published the audio recording from the NoSQL smackdown at SXSW. On stage we had Stu Hood (Cassandra), Jan Lehnardt (CouchDB) and Wynn Netherland (The Changelog) and they were quickly joined by Werner Vogels (CTO Amazon).

Werner was definitely the salt and pepper of the discussion, followed closely by Jan Lehnardt. Below you can find my notes (nb quotes are reproduced from memory so they may not be exact):

Werner Vogels: There are two reasons for replication:

  • gaining fault tolerance
  • getting higher level of concurrency this resulting in higher throughput (read or write)


Replication leads to decisions related to how writes should be implemented. […] So the whole consistency models is abstractions from the implementation leaking up.

Werner Vogels: The Dynamo system is not user-friendly. S3 is much better.

Werner Vogels: List operations are complication with Dynamo.

Stu Hood: Cassandra has an adavntage as it doesn’t use hashing being closer to BigTable.

Werner Vogels: You shouldn’t run your own database. These times are passed.

This is a bit self-contradicting what Werner was saying a bit later on the NoSQL smackdown show:

Werner Vogels: If you look at your applications, for each of your requirements you’ll find a dedicated solution.

Jan Lehnardt had a few great arguments against the “don’t run your own database”

Cloud is awesome as long as you are connected.

Plus the web is not meant to live in silos which is what Google, Amazon and a couple of others are proposing.

Jonathan Ellis has post on some reasons why the cloud may not be the best place for your data.

Jan Lehnardt: Having an HTTP-based database means that you don’t need all that crap in the middle.

This sounds very similar to our NoSQL protocols are important and re-emphasizes that CouchDB can change the architecture of your next web app.

Even if the recording quality is not great, it’s still highly entertaining.

Update: Some videos of the event are being published. You can watch them below