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Rick van der Lans

Welcome to my blog where I will talk about a variety of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, application integration, and database technology. Currently my special interests include data virtualization, NoSQL technology, and service-oriented architectures. If there are any topics you'd like me to address, send them to me at rick@r20.nl.

About the author >

Rick is an independent consultant, speaker and author, specializing in data warehousing, business intelligence, database technology and data virtualization. He is managing director and founder of R20/Consultancy. An internationally acclaimed speaker who has lectured worldwide for the last 25 years, he is the chairman of the successful annual European Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence Conference held annually in London. In the summer of 2012 he published his new book Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems. He is also the author of one of the most successful books on SQL, the popular Introduction to SQL, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Italian and German. He has written many white papers for various software vendors. Rick can be contacted by sending an email to rick@r20.nl.

Editor's Note: Rick's blog and more articles can be accessed through his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel.

Quite recently, during my trip to the Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area, I visited some of the well-known NoSQL vendors. What became obvious after a couple of meetings is that all of them have added or are adding SQL interfaces to their products (or some form of SQL). For example, Cloudera will release Impala, MapR is working on Drill, and DataStax has CQL. These are all SQL interfaces. But the list goes on, data virtualization vendors, such as Composite, Denodo, and Informatic, support access to NoSQL products, Hadapt offers SQL on top of Hadoop, Simba and Quest have released SQL support for various NoSQL products, and MarkLogic, a NoSQL vendor that has developed a search-based transactional database server, will release a SQL interface. In other words, the SQL-fication of NoSQL has started and continues in a rapid pace.

Adding SQL is a wise decision, because through SQL, (big) data stored in these systems, becomes available to a much larger audience and therefore becomes more valuable to the business. It makes it possible to use a much broader set of products to query and analyze that data. Evidently, not all these SQL implementations are perfect today, but I don't doubt that they will improve over time.

Considering this SQL-fication that's going on, how much longer can we state that the term NoSQL stands for NO SQL? Maybe in a few years we will say that NoSQL stands for Not Originally SQL.

In a way, this transformation reminds me of the history of Ingres. This database server started out as a NoSQL product as well. In the beginning, Ingres supported a database language called Quel (a relational language, but not SQL). Eventually, the market forced them to convert to SQL. Not Originally SQL certainly applies to them.

Anyway, the SQL-fication of NoSQL products and big data has started and continues. To me, this is a great development, because more and more organizations understand what a major asset it is. Therefore, data, any data, big or small, should be stored in systems that can be accessed by as many tools, applications, and users as possible, and that's what SQL offers. Such a valuable asset should not be hidden and buried deep in systems that can only be accessed by experts and technical wizards

Posted February 8, 2013 8:53 AM
Permalink | 2 Comments |


Most practitioners have settled on NoSQL as "Not Only SQL". Even though that implies SQL is there already, the premise of NoSQL is about persisting your data in a flexible/unconstrained manner that maps closer to your problem space.

Could not agree with George more on this. Although I agree with the point that 'Such a valuable asset should not be hidden and buried deep in systems that can only be accessed by experts and technical wizards' - this does not mean NoSQL is transforming to SQL in any respect. The essence of NOSQL was to simplify the persistence, understanding and definition of data which was far too complicated in the SQL world. This essence is still valid and although the querying of data stores could be SQL-fied, there is no doubt that the underlying representation has already reached a new paradigm with the advent of NOSQL. This will not go back in time soon and can only be replaced with the advent of a newer and a more dynamic perspective in years to come.

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