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Starting out with NoSQL – part 1

Experts say that the world’s data is doubling every two years. This epic increase in Big Data has highlighted the limitations of reliance on traditional forms of data storage and management and focused attention on new methods for addressing the volume and variety and veracity of structured and unstructured data. In these discussion, one of the terms you’ve undoubtedly heard lots of buzz around is the expression “NoSQL.” The market is a formidable one with projected growth forecast to reach $3.4 Billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% for the period 2015 – 2020.


NoSQL is a technical term that means either “No SQL” or “Not only SQL” and represents a paradigm shift away from sole reliance on relational databases. Relational databases (RDMS) emerged in the 1970s and were based on a set of data tables that could be queried and matched based on languages like SQL. These database architectures were ‘structured’ meaning that the data was organized in a uniform format and varied little over time.

The premise behind NoSQL is The Key-Value Pair (KVP) which is a framework where each record has a primary key and a collection of values (bins) associated with that record. The way Key Values work can be demonstrated in this sample chart below:


Here you see a ‘key’ in the column and a ‘value’ in the right; notice it can be a string, integer, or the like. Most KVP objects allow you to store any object on the right, because it’s just a value. According to this schema there will always be a unique key for a particular object that needs to be returned. Querying the database for that unique key will return the results back from whichever node has the object.


There are any number of applications for NoSQL data storage and processing solutions today, ranging from user profile stores, to ecommerce sites, to mobile applications. Netflix is one example of a company that has achieved notoriety with NoSQL by streaming huge amounts of content to millions of customers worldwide each day. The ability to deliver high-volume, high-variety online applications for a fraction of the cost that it took with traditional methods, is also one of the reasons why NoSQL technologies are an appealing solution for smaller organizations with limited budgets.

As a small business seeking to leverage the most effective NoSQL solutions, there are a handful of top vendors that you should know about.



Chances are good that you’ve probably heard of MongoDB. Named after the word “humongous”, MongoDB is an open-source document database that has been around since 2007 and since then has gained a reputation as the world’s most popular NoSQL database. MongoLab is a MongoDB startup that began in 2011 as fully managed cloud database service hosting MongoDB databases and running on cloud providers Amazon, Google, Joyent, Rackspace and Windows Azure. The value of MongoLab is that it has combined the right business (MongoDB) and the right delivery model (PaaS) in a manner that has really appealed to developers in the NoSQL community.



The extensibility and scalability of the MongoDB and MongoLab offerings are especially impressive as measured by their growing footprint in the data storage market. MongoDB Inc., in collaboration with Microsoft and MongoLab, just recently announced a fully-managed MongoDB-as-a-Service Add-On offering on the Microsoft Azure store.

Thanks to solutions like MongoLab it’s now easier than ever for small businesses to leverage the benefits of NoSQL and run MongoDB applications in the cloud . . . in a safe, secure, and cost-effective manner.

Stay tuned as we continue this discussion in part 2.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.