In Over Your Head With Your Database? Here are 5 Signs It’s Time to Go NoSQL

In Over Your Head With Your Database? Here are 5 Signs It’s Time to Go NoSQL

You’ve got database drama.

You’ve tuned and tuned, but your queries are still taking forever, and when they come back, they’re not returning great results.

You have to do something, but what? Denormalize? Change your schemas? Buy a bigger server? If you’ve already done everything you can possibly do already, you know none of those steps is the right solution.

The problem may be that you’re using the wrong tool for the job.

Relational databases are the most common kind of database, but they don’t handle every task well. They’re rigid, for one thing — SQL do best when the relationships they’re designed to model are well defined when the database is built — so they don’t handle change well. They can updated, but those updates usually slow down the database.

Relational databases also have a hard time with lots and lots of data, inconsistent data, and complicated queries.

The sort of solution you need depends a lot on the kinds of data you’re managing, what sort of approach your organization takes to development, and even your budget.

If you are using a database that’s not compatible with the sort of queries you’re running, it’s going to cost you money, if it hasn’t already. It may be time to move to NoSQL.

How are you going to explain the need for a switch to NoSQL to your manager? And how do you know for sure that you need to go NoSQL, rather than simply making some changes to your existing relational database?

Don’t panic. We got you.

Here are five signs that it’s at least time to sit down with some interested parties and have a discussion about implementing a NoSQL database:

1. You’re Going Agile

If you currently practice or are heading down the path of an Agile transformation, take note.

Agile and traditional SQL databases don’t always play well together. The Agile development approach requires a more flexible and easily changed database schema. Relational databases aren’t designed to do that. NoSQL databases are.

2. You Run Lots of Complex Queries

With a SQL database, when you pull a lot of tables into a query (or the same table recursively) you create monster SQL statements that can take forever to return results.

If you are often frustrated by complex, slow query results from your SQL database it’s a good sign to start thinking about a NoSQL database, which often has a simpler data model leading to simpler queries.

3. Denormalizing Is Looking Good

Your DBAs have done everything they can to improve performance and it’s still not acceptable. The only remaining solution is to:

• Denormalize the data
• Create tables of pre-computed results
• Copy the production database to create a reporting database

Okay — time to take a breath and push the pause button on denormalization.

NoSQL databases are designed to process big datasets. They can “scale out faster” on cheaper hardware. They can also have simpler data models. Look to NoSQL to solve that performance issue rather than pushing a relational database into a non-relational model.

4. You’re Shopping for An Expensive Database Server

Some relational databases can only run on a single-instance server. If you are in that situation and shopping for high-end hardware to solve a performance or uptime issue, hold up.

Consider a NoSQL Database that can run either on a cloud-based service or on commodity hardware that you already own.

5. You Spend More on DBAs Than Programmers

If you are spending more hours of labor on schema changes, tweaking of indexes, and scaling issues than you are building new features or new apps, consider that a sign.

Consider a NoSQL solution that’s designed to have a more dynamic schema, process larger datasets, and scale up or out more efficiently.

Avoid Database Drama

If any of the above scenarios sounds like you, it’s likely time to go NoSQL.

If your use case calls for NoSQL, you’re in good hands. Apexon can help you make your case to your company C-suite and get started on the road to faster, better queries. Contact us today to get started.

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