From Relational to NoSQL in a nutshell

Relational vs NoSQL wars are pointless. There’s just no one silver bullet to solve all the problems. It’s a truism that too many forget far too often. What’s more, both SQL databases and NoSQLs can successfully co-exist.

Why migrate to NoSQL?

Go into NoSQL if you require high availability more than anything else (at cost of immediate consistency). Relational databases sacrifice availability for consistency and master database is usually a single point of failure.

Famous CAP theorem states that in the event of a network partition, a distributed system can either provide availability (it’s NoSQL) or consistency (it’s Relational).

It doesn’t mean NoSQL databases are not consistent at all, they’re just eventually consistent.

Cost of Scale

Scaling a relational database to handle more traffic is usually painful experience for ops. It’s definitely neither cheap nor easy. Most NoSQLs are designed with scaling in mind.

Data model

Relational databases are strict, which makes it very hard to store unstructured data. NoSQL are much less conservative about it. They’re usually schemaless. It also often means that adding new features does not require costly schema changes.


This has been all compiled based on great “From Relational to Riak” document.

  1. by sobstel • November 2014