The 451 group’s Matt Aslett argues that Necessity is the mother of NoSQL.
Necessity is particularly relevant when looking at the history of the NoSQL databases. While it is easy for the incumbent database vendor to dismiss the various NoSQL projects as development playthings, it is clear that the vast majority of NoSQL projects were developed by companies and individuals in response to the fact that the existing database products and vendors were not suitable to meet their requirements with regards to the other five factors: scalability, performance, relaxed consistency, agility and intricacy.
The fact that Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Amazon have had to develop and support their own database infrastructure is not a healthy sign. In a perfect world, they would all have better things to do than focus on developing and managing database platforms. That explains why the companies have also all chosen to share their projects. Google and Amazon did so through the publication of research papers, which enabled the likes of Powerset, Facebook, Zvents and Linkedin to create their own implementations. These implementations were then shared through the publication of source code, which has enabled the likes of Yahoo, Digg and Twitter to collaborate with each other and additional companies on their ongoing development.
He also posts an interesting chart of the evolution of NoSQL.