Cloud databases, or database on the cloud?:

NuoDB has today kicked off that debate with the launch of its Cloud Data Management System and 12 rules for a 21st century cloud database. NuoDB’s 12 rules appear pretty sound to me – in fact you could argue they are somewhat obvious.

Monash has a less favorable view on the 12 rules, or maybe just marks his disagreement in stronger words… an interesting read anyway, as he compares it against Codd’s 12 rules for RDBMS.

However the key piece is Matt Aslett’s note about Cloud databases, this difference is one I’ve been struggling to sell in the enterprise:

Either way, I believe that this is the right time to be debating what constitutes a “cloud database”. Database on the cloud are nothing new, but these are existing relational database products configured to run on the cloud.

In other words, they are databases on the cloud, not databases of the cloud. There is a significant difference between spinning up a relational database in a VMI on the cloud versus deploying a database designed to take advantage of, enable, and be part of, the cloud.

To me, a true cloud database would be one designed to take advantage of and enable elastic, distributed architecture. NuoDB is one of those, but it won’t be the only one. Many NoSQL databases could also make a claim, albeit not for SQL and ACID workloads.

That’s the thing worth thinking about. How much of the technology making a DBMS a Cloud databse is actually new, and how much is just old technologies put to new uses in mainstream DBMSs?

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