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From Neal Leavitt <n...@leavcom.com>
Date Sun, 27 Dec 2009 01:50:43 GMT

I’m a contributing editor to IEEE’s Computer Magazine (www.ieee.org).
Full-time I run Leavitt Communications (www.leavcom.com), a Fallbrook, CA
international marketing communications firm.  I’m doing a story for the
February 2010 issue on NoSQL databases (FYI -- log on to our web site, click
on Articles to see past examples of stories I’ve authored for Computer

Senior News Editor Lee Garber has indicated your organization is a key
source for the story so I welcome and encourage your participation – please
respond to as many questions on my question list (they are always voluminous
so please don’t be intimidated by the list) as you deem fit (more the
better, however – can use you and your organization more times as a source
in the story).  Email responses are preferred since they ensure greater
accuracy.  Not all are germane for everyone as they’re targeted towards
vendors, analysts and academics.

My deadline to Computer Magazine is MONDAY, JAN. 4, 2010, 10 AM Pacific
Standard Time.  I need your responses back by FRIDAY, DEC. 31, 6 PM Pacific
Standard Time (sooner if possible).  I just need a few sentences or a brief
paragraph or two to address the particular question. Any relevant web links,
articles, white papers, etc., that you can email now would be very helpful. 
I’m also looking for good visuals – charts, graphics, detailed
diagrams/schematics about NoSQL databases that are not overtly promotional,
and stats showing past/predicted growth – in short – open to all
suggestions.  I’d like these emailed as soon as possible too.    

When sending visuals, please also include a brief statement indicating that
your organization is giving Computer Magazine permission to use them – your
organization will receive the appropriate credit tagline.  Lastly, you’ll
also have an opportunity to review the rough draft but turnaround time will
be very quick—usually only 24 hours.  I look forward to your contribution –
the article will be an excellent publicity vehicle for your organization as
well since the story is also posted on IEEE’s web site.

Here’s how the story will be structured:


1.	Why is it called a “NoSQL database” and is this a relatively new type of

2.	Provide a brief basic description of what NoSQL databases are, how they
work and how they differ from relational databases.

3.	Are all NoSQL databases open source and if so, why?

4.	Read that ‘NoSQL is a database movement that began in early to mid-2009
which promotes non-relational data stores that do not need a fixed schema’
and that usually avoids ‘join’ operations – what is meant by ‘fixed schema’
and ‘join’ operations here, and per latter why is avoiding them a big deal?

5.	What types are data are NoSQL databases good for?

6.	Read that the movement’s chief champions are web and Java developers –
why these in particular?


7.   Provide a brief statement on when relational databases were first
developed and by whom, when they were first introduced and by which
8.   Explains what relational databases are, how they work, what they do.

9.   Explain why relational databases work only with structured data and
what exactly structured data is and provide a few brief examples.

10. What problems – such as speed-do organizations experience using
relational databases because the databases work only with structured data? 
Am I correct in assuming that this has been the driving force behind NoSQL
databases’ development/adoption?

11. Read that relational database strictures often make it hard to create
big databases that use the cycles of a room full of machines. What specific
strictures are we talking about and why do they make it hard to do this. 
Why would you want to even do this?

12. Why are relational databases slow and expensive?

13. Read that SQL is an “awkward fit for procedural code and almost all code
is procedural.” Why is this the case and what’s it used for?

14. Read that for data upon which users expect to do heavy, repeated
manipulations, cost of mapping data into SQL is well worth paying – why is
this so?  

15. But if database structure is very simple, is this still the case with

16. Read that relational databases offer a big feature set and data
integrity, but NoSQL proponents say the features can be much more than they
need. What features, why is it more than they need and what problems – if
any – does this cause?


      A.  History

17. Provide a brief history of the NoSQL database.  Which organizations and
researchers developed it and when?  When was the first NoSQL database
released for public use and when was the first NoSQL database released for
commercial use?

      B.  The Technology

18. How are NoSQL databases able to handle structured data?

19. What do they do that enables them to handle unstructured data, when
relational bases can’t?

20. Why can NoSQL databases process data faster than relational databases? 
Need to explain clearly NoSQL databases’ advantages and the uses for which
they are superior.

21. Read that relational databases have controls that NoSQL databases don’t. 
What types of controls and what do they accomplish?

22. How can they function without these controls and why does the lack of
controls help NoSQL databases process data faster?

23. Read this but don’t know what it means: “NoSQL systems often provide
weak inconsistency guarantees such as eventual consistency and transactions
restricted to single data items, even though one can impose full ACID
guarantees by adding a supplementary middle layer.”  Please provide a brief
analysis here.

24. Read that many NoSQL databases promote highly distributed, scalable data
storage techniques – what techniques and why is this important?

24. What do NoSQL databases run on – clusters of inexpensive servers?  What
do SQL databases run on? 

25. Also read this but don’t understand it – please clarify: “NoSQL
databases can be easily and cheaply expanded without the complexity and cost
of ‘sharding’- which involves cutting up databases into multiple tables to
run on large clusters or grids.  By sidestepping the time-consuming toil of
translating web or Java apps and data into a SQL-friendly format, NoSQL
architectures perform faster.”  Why must SQL databases do the translation
and why can NoSQL databases avoid it?

      C.  Implementation

26. I want to mention various NoSQL databases. Just need a sentence or two
on each but for each database, IEEE Computer which organization developed
it, how it is used, and how it clearly differs from the others.

27. What are the technical and marketplace challenges that NoSQL databases
face?  Some possible factors:

•	Cost
•	Complexity for many users
•	Reliability
•	Computing overhead for system
•	Lack of need or perceived need for the technology by potential users
•	Unfamiliarity with the technology
•	Concern about how new/untested the technology is
•	Competition from other types of databases
•	Business model
•	Other challenges not listed here

28. Do NoSQL databases come with any support?  If not, because they’re open
source, does this turn off potential users?


29. How will the technology change during the next five years?

30. How will it be used?

31. How will it do in the marketplace?


Provide concluding remarks, whether optimistic or cautionary.

Neal Leavitt
Leavitt Communications
(760) 639-2900: Office
(760) 639-3800:  Fax
(760) 212-9112:  Cell
(408) 547-9468:  E-Fax
Skype: nleavitt007
twitter: leavcom

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