Monday, April 05, 2010


Part One: Enterprise Architecture and NoSQL

This is Part One of a two part blog entry on Enterprise Architecture and NoSQL. Part Two will cover the technical aspects of NoSQL while this entry will focus on the human aspects...

If hype is the plague on the house of software, the NoSQL movement most certainly capitalizes the investment. NoSQL has managed to gain lots of media attention for what should be viewed as an incremental change in how we leverage technology.

Social networking sites such as MySpace, Google, Twitter and others have reached the limits of traditional relational database technology. Within most enterprises, a wildly scalable application may have a population of tens of thousands of users with a user concurrency of a few thousand. Internet social networking sites tend to have tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of users who have larger expectations when it comes to response time and therefore their architecture needs to be thought about much differently.

Anyway, independent of the technology, enterprise architects can learn a lot from the NoSQL movement in terms of creating hype. First and foremost, the community came up with a term not to describe what NoSQL is but what it is not! More importantly, NoSQL doesn't really mean that you can't use SQL. In fact, many of the current NoSQL implementations leverage SQL as its query model.

This tactic most certainly brings people out of the woodwork who will go out of their way to prove you wrong via blogs, twitter and other social platforms increasing the visibility of the effort. As a blogger, I have noticed the trend within my own blog where if I post a 100% accurate blog, there is no dialog as it shuts down the ability for others to participate. However, if I leave others an opening by stating something that others can attack, then participation increases.

From Incite comes Insight and within large enterprises, NoSQL leverages another collaboration pattern that is time tested. Given a scenario where two people have taken opposite stances, there is always someone within an enterprise setting that believes their value is to moderate discussions and drive things to a middle ground. This is analogous to neither being democratic nor republican but merely a moderate and NoSQL leverages this mantra well.

I believe that moderation in of itself is neither good nor bad. Tempered responses need to be made in context and based on doing the right thing and not just want is most popular. We have all heard the phrase, bleep or get off the pot. I don't think you want to take the meet in the middle scenario here as you are hogging the pot and might have something run down your leg.

Anyway, I think the NoSQL movement did the right thing by coining an otherwise inaccurate term for their needs and has been successful in getting the community at large to pay attention to their message in a timely and scalable way. This is a technique that I would encourage enterprise architects to add to their bag of tricks...

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