The world is moving to the cloud and various post-monolithic SQL databases are emerging. The term “NewSQL” was coined by 451 Research analyst Matt Aslett in 2011, and in 2016 Aslett and Professor Andrew Pavlo of Carnegie Mellon University published a paper titled, “What’s Really New with NewSQL,” describing NewSQL as a new class of database management systems that “want to achieve the same scalability of NoSQL DBMSs from the 2000s, but still keep the relational model (with SQL) and transaction support of the legacy DBMSs from the 1970-80s.” NuoDB was founded in 2010 based on this idea, and has been an important player in the distributed relational database space since then. For a while, this concept was referred to as “scalable SQL,” and we’ve also seen reference to “elastic SQL.” More recently, we’ve seen a new term emerge: “distributed SQL.”
Let me explain why all of these terms refer to essentially the same thing, although the ways that different databases achieve that scalability while maintaining consistency varies. As more and more companies started providing SaaS offerings that had no downtime, a pattern of pain points emerged:
- A monolithic database cannot provide the resiliency and high availability guarantees required by modern always-up, always-available applications.
- Scaling up is no longer viable. Machines big enough to run these types of workloads become too expensive, too quickly.
- NoSQL is not well suited for applications that require strong transactional and ACID guarantees.
- Explicit sharding is too complex and diverts engineering resources from what matters most: the business.
We’ve seen technologies come and go, but the same four fundamental motivations that are aligned with the shift to the cloud remain unchanged. NuoDB has been here since the beginning, and we continue to help our customers alleviate these pains.
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