Over a decade ago, I coined the term NewSQL to describe the new breed of horizontally scalable, relational database products. The term was adopted by a variety of vendors that sought to combine the transactional consistency of the relational database model with elastic, cloud-native scalability. Many of the early NewSQL vendors struggled to gain traction, however, and were either acquired or ceased operations before they could make an impact in the crowded operational data platforms market. Nonetheless, the potential benefits of data platforms that span both on-premises and cloud resources remain. As I recently noted, many of the new operational database vendors have now adopted the term “distributed SQL” to describe their offerings. In addition to new terminology, a key trend that separates distributed SQL vendors from the NewSQL providers that preceded them is a greater focus on developers, laying the foundation for the next generation of applications that will depend on horizontally scalable, relational-database functionality. Yugabyte is a case in point.
I recently described the growing level of interest in data mesh which provides an organizational and cultural approach to data ownership, access and governance that facilitates distributed data processing. As I stated in my Analyst Perspective, data mesh is not a product that can be acquired or even a technical architecture that can be built. Adopting the data mesh approach is dependent on people and process change to overcome traditional reliance on centralized ownership of data and infrastructure and adapt to its principles of domain-oriented ownership, data as a product, self-serve data infrastructure and federated governance. Many organizations will need to make technological changes to facilitate adoption of data mesh, however. Starburst Data is associated with accelerating analysis of data in data lakes but is also one of several vendors aligning their products with data mesh.
The term NoSQL has been a misnomer ever since it appeared in 2009 to describe a group of emerging databases. It was true that a lack of support for Structured Query Language (SQL) was common to the various databases referred to as NoSQL. However, it was always one of a number of common characteristics, including flexible schema, distributed data processing, open source licensing, and the use of non-relational data models (key value, document, graph) rather than relational tables. As the various NoSQL databases have matured and evolved, many of them have added support for SQL terms and concepts, as well as the ability to support SQL format queries. Couchbase has been at the forefront of this effort, recognizing that to drive greater adoption of NoSQL databases in general (and its distributed document database in particular) it was wise to increase compatibility with the concepts, tools and skills that have dominated the database market for the past 50 years.