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“Nonschematic” databases.

by Roberto V. Zicari on December 17, 2009

Carl Olofson, Research Vice President, Database Management and Data Integration Software Research, at IDC, sent me this note, where he argues about the term “NoSQL” in relation with object databases.


Carl Olofson:
I would shy away from this term. A number of analysts (including myself) consider it a somewhat sloppy term intended to convey a certain spirit of rebellion. It actually derives from the core idea that the so-called “No-SQL” databases do not require schemas, and since most DBMSs are relational, it is simpler to say “NoSQL” than the more obscure “NoDDL”.
In fact, OODBMS does require a schema, and the data structure, which is tied to the application object model, is key to how it operates, and especially to its transparent operational nature. The so-called “NoSQL” database, which I call a “nonschematic” database, is one that requires no schema to be defined before data is loaded. One usually does define a schema afterward, through a process of data discovery and definition. If you know of a OODBMS that can accept undefined data, and allow schema definition after the fact, that could qualify. Otherwise, I would shy away from the term altogether.

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