Databases are the spine of the tech industry: unsung, invisible, but critical–and beyond disastrous when they break or are deformed. This makes database people cautious. For years, only the Big Three–Oracle, IBM’s DB2, and (maybe) SQL Server–were serious options. Then the open-source alternatives–MySQL, PostgreSQL–became viable. …And then, over the last five years, things got interesting.
Some history: around the turn of this millennium, more and more people begin to recognize that formal, structured, normalized relational databases, interrogated by variants of SQL, often hindered rather than helped development. Over the following decade, a plethora of new databases bloomed, especially within Google, which had a particular need for web-scale datastore solutions: hence BigTable, Megastore and Spanner.
Meanwhile, Apache brought us Cassandra, HBase, and CouchDB; Clustrix offered a plug-and-play scalable MySQL replacement; Redis became a fundamental component of many Rails (and other) apps; and, especially, MongoDB
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