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Future of Data Management

By John L. Myers, from information-management.com

One of my favorite quotes about the future of business and thus the future of technology is: “Data is the new oil.”

This quote was in answer to the question of “What’s the next big thing?”. In modern business practices the more information that you have AND leverage in business situations, the better “armed” an organization will be for competitive advantage. According to a recent Enterprise Management Associates end user research survey on Big Data, the future of data management platforms is with multi-structured data sets and flexible data schemas spread across multiple platforms. This type of environment or ecosystem will focus more on the requirements of an organization’s processing and analytics; and characteristics of the data than it does on the functionality of a single predominate data management platform and how it can operate on the data.

Some might say that this future means the “fall” of the structured data platform like traditional databases. However, this future is more about the “rise” of data management platforms that are purpose built to support multi-structured data and a flexible approach to applying schemas and accessing this data. Some might say that there hasn’t been an era of change in data management since the early 1980s when database management systems such as Oracle came into the mainstream. This move from navigational, or pointer driven, database structures gave way to the current standard for structured data and the relational model. And where relational databases and data models put the “structure” in data stores, the requirement for flexibility of structure and access are swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction.

This blog is intended to observe regarding, opine about and occasionally predict the happenings relating to the new wave of data management called NoSQL platforms and how they can work instead of and in association with the relational database management systems called SQL platforms. I intend to inform and sometimes provoke readers. I will not pontificate about the rise of a dominate data management paradigm. Rather, I will encourage a healthy discourse about how NoSQL and SQL can and should work together to meet the operational and analytical workloads and business cases of this new age of data intensive activities in 21st century business.

As I am a bit of the data scientist/geek/quant at heart, I would like to start this discussion with a “scientific” hypothesis that we should test: Data architects’ and CTOs’ ONLY path to support the future of business is to embrace NoSQL platforms as the yin to SQL platforms’ yang. NoSQL and SQL platforms can co-exist not only on paper but in practice. However, this will require a change in thinking among data store professionals, data architects and technology leadership. As Frank Lloyd Wright said: “An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.”

NoSQL is NOT the eraser or the wrecking bar, but the reason that we should change how we view the value and structure of data in the modern enterprise. What say the readers? Is my hypothesis valid? Is NoSQL the “XML” or “Object” data store of today? Post your comments below or contact me directly via Twitter at @JohnLMyers44 using the hashtag #noodlingNoSQL