The Big List of NoSQL Use Cases

“In the NoSQL space this kind of real-world data is still a bit vague,” writes Todd Hoff at High Scalability. “When asked, vendors tend to give very general answers like NoSQL is good for BigData or key-value access. What does that mean for for the developer in the trenches faced with the task of solving a specific problem and there are a dozen confusing choices and no obvious winner? Not a lot.”

He’s set out to help solve that problem by compiling a list of NoSQL use cases, both general and specific.

Here’s the list of general use cases, Hoff’s commentary omitted:

  • Bigness
  • Massive write performance
  • Fast key-value access
  • Flexible schema and flexible datatypes
  • Schema migration
  • Write availability
  • Easier maintainability, administration and operations
  • No single point of failure
  • Generally available parallel computing
  • Programmer ease of use
  • Use the right data model for the right problem
  • Avoid hitting the wall
  • Distributed systems support
  • Tunable CAP tradeoffs

He also provides a long list of more specific use cases, here are the first few:

  • Managing large streams of non-transactional data: Apache logs, application logs, MySQL logs, clickstreams, etc.
  • Syncing online and offline data. This is a niche CouchDB has targeted.
  • Fast response times under all loads.
  • Avoiding heavy joins for when the query load for complex joins become too large for a RDBMS.
  • Soft real-time systems where low latency is critical. Games are one example.

We’ve written a few posts that may be of interest for those wanting to know NoSQL is used in practice:

GigaOm is also running a series on RealWorld NoSQL.

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