09 July 2010

I Need to Get Out More

I need to get out more. Josh Berkus, he of PostgreSQL fame, does and has just posted this. I love the title: RunningWithScissorsDB. Yet another example of clueless coders wagging the dog.

Here is the money quote:
...just before pgCon this year I brushed elbows with three different companies who were using PostgreSQL as a cache for Hadoop/HBase (or similar): Mozilla, Factual.com, and one other. They have large, non-relational document stores which they use for data processing, and need a highly relational database like PostgreSQL in order to be able to present data to the user.

He goes on to discuss the notion of transaction-less PostgreSQL, not such a great idea, in my opinion. What's being suggested is, in the end, what MySql was before Innodb: a SQL parser fronting the native file system. Whether such a "database" can be faster than bespoke file I/O written into an application is debatable. I think not. But having a "standard" I/O syntax does simplify coding development. Again, debatable whether it's useful. If the data in question is throwaway, in any sense, then ACID is irrelevant, and you won't build such in your code, either, so using a "database" which doesn't provide such services could be a wise decision. But this isn't database development, just application coding.

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