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6 issues to consider when moving to NoSQL databases

6 issues to consider when moving to NoSQL databases

September 25, 2019

By Veera Budhi for Information Management

Complicated queries, high volumes of data and inconsistencies can challenge relational databases. But your company still needs to develop new apps and grow in natural directions.

Rigid, structured data environments may work for some applications, but this isn’t the best solution for your data if you’re scaling up fast and looking to keep growing. For businesses that rely on SQL, it can be frustrating to arrive at a point where database queries return bad or unsatisfying results, and slowly. This becomes especially problematic when these results are the basis for making major business decisions. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider using noSQL.

If you’re stuck on whether NoSQL is the right solution, here are six issues to consider:

1. Your Dev Team is Going Agile

Adopting agile principles will help your team adapt and change course more quickly, but a traditional SQL framework may not mesh with this approach.

SQL databases and their rigid schema are less flexible than alternatives. If you’re looking to move forward with a more open view of the future, NoSQL may be a better approach for your team.

2. You Find Yourself in the Market for an Expensive Database Server

There are relational databases that can only operate on a single-instance server. If this is the case for you and you find yourself shopping for expensive hardware to solve trouble with uptime or performance, consider alternatives.

NoSQL provides a dynamic schema, the ability to process large datasets quickly, and the opportunity to scale efficiently.

3. You’re Denormalizing, and It’s Going Well

If your DBAs have done their best to improve your SQL’s performance and it’s still not meeting your team’s needs, you may have turned to denormalization. But it’s possible that the problem isn’t the data’s organization: it’s the schemas.

NoSQL databases are made to scale out faster and for less money. They can handle big sets of data and require less expensive hardware. Rather than pushing your relational database into a non-relational model, consider shifting over to a non-relational model altogether.

4. Your System Requirements Include Running a Lot of Complex Queries

If the queries you’re running are complex and the volume of data you’re working with is increasing, chances are you’re feeling the pull of slow returns. And this may be a source of friction for your customers and within your team.

When your results are long statements that take forever to arrive, there’s no way to deny your database isn’t as efficient as it could be.

5. The Balance Sheet Shows That You Spend More on DBAs Than Programmers

Database administrators eating into your development budget? Evaluate your spending on database administration against your growth needs. If you had a more flexible database, would you be able to free up some spending for product development?

If you are thinking about making a change, it’s important to consider the cost of facilitating the transition between databases and any staffing changes that might go along with it. While it can be difficult to pin a number to the potential benefits of going with NoSQL, this will help you get an accurate picture of the cost of making this change.

6. Your Schemas Are Drawing Your Roadmap for You

If your find that your team is avoiding moving in new directions because developing the apps would be too challenging with SQL, it may be time to consider NoSQL.

When you get to a place where your team is hesitant to try new things because of the labor involved and the headaches that they can spy from a distance, the problem probably isn’t your employees. Relational databases aren’t the right tool for many queries, and if your operation and applications are getting more complex, SQL may be holding you back.

SQL and NoSQL are both great solutions to different problems. If you’re moving fast and looking to scale out, you may be ready to move away from SQL to a database that’s more compatible with agile development.

Ultimately, the question of which solution is right for your project needs and budget is more personal than can be addressed in a blog post. If the issues (and solutions) raised in this list resonate with you, talk to your dev team about their views and begin assessing the costs (and benefits) of making a change.

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