POWER > Business Strategy > Open Source

The Buzz about Open-Source Databases

Open-Source Databases

You’ve likely heard the buzz around NoSQL databases and open-source databases, but aren’t these the same thing? This article explains these terms, and provides an overview of what’s happening in the database marketplace and why open-source databases are causing such a buzz. Finally, the article examines which open-source databases are available for Linux* on POWER*.

What Are NoSQL and Open-Source?

NoSQL generally refers to databases that don’t have an SQL interface, but more recently some so-called NoSQL databases have come to support some SQL or another query language. As a result, NoSQL has evolved to mean “Not only SQL.”

Although the term “NoSQL” was coined as long ago as 1998, it came to prominence in 2009 when it was used to describe the emergence of new, non-relational databases, which don’t view data in strictly defined tables of rows and columns. NoSQL refers to a database that is not relational.

Closed source refers to software whose source code is kept secret to prevent copying. Open source software’s source code is open and available for study, modification and even redistribution. Open-source software is often free to download and use.

An open-source database system’s source code is open source, and it could be relational or non-relational (NoSQL).

Trends Affecting the Database Market

Two forces are presently at work in the database market: the need for new applications and the need to lower costs. The need to lower costs doesn’t seem like anything new, but the need for new applications is driving the need to lower costs.

What are these new applications and why are they needed? Three factors are driving the accelerated pace of new applications:

  1. The advent of Web 2.0. Static webpages have become dynamic and social media is all around us: Everyone is tweeting, posting, blogging, vlogging, sharing photos, chatting and commenting.
  2. The advent of the smartphone. This has spawned new social media and new applications, some of which aren’t even available as traditional websites but only as apps. It’s now common to use your smartphone to book travel, check in, post your status, grab a ride, listen to music, find a coffee shop, upload photos, buy stuff and manage your finances. The list is endless and growing all the time.
  3. The advent of smart devices. Smart cars, smart homes, smart appliances and more are at the forefront of the rapidly growing network of connected things that collect, process and exchange data—the Internet of Things.

Together, these generate huge amounts of new data, much of which is unstructured and can’t be neatly stored in a tabular relational database. Accordingly, new flexible databases are needed to store, manage and process the new data—NoSQL databases. Community-based open-source developers have, in turn, developed many NoSQL databases.

Companies want to absorb and use the new data to stay ahead in business, and provide features such as product recommendations and a differentiating customer experience. The data can be analyzed in search of patterns for applications such as fraud detection and behavior analytics.

Rick Murphy is a migration consultant in the IBM Systems Lab Services Migration Factory, helping clients migrate to IBM Systems.

comments powered by Disqus



2019 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.


IBM PowerAI Brings Together AI Solutions for Enterprises

Business Essential

Business Essential

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store