7 Reasons to Use a NoSQL Database

August 14, 2015

By Steve Mezak

NoSQL DatabaseThe use of NoSQL databases has increased because they handle mission-critical applications so well. A NoSQL database stores & retrieves information differently than the fixed table approach used in relational databases where information is retrieved with Structured Query Language (SQL). Business applications undergo frequent changes and critical scalability requirements that SQL and old relational database technology cannot handle.

Here are 7 situations where NoSQL is replacing relational databases:

Personalization & Profile Management

Apps need to handle a huge amount of data to create a personalized experience that is different and changes frequently for each user. A NoSQL database has fast data retrieval to perfectly fit the user’s needs and goals in real-time.

Tracking Customer Activity

App creators want to track user activities to see what works, what doesn’t and to make improvements over time. Tracking customer behavior can also lead to up-sell opportunities. This is difficult to do for large companies with different product lines and apps with customer data fragmented in relational database silos. NoSQL enables multiple apps to access the same customer data and add new attributes easily.

Real-Time Big Data 

The open-source software framework Hadoop uses distributed storage and distributed processing of very large data sets on low-cost computer hardware. Hadoop is popular for the collection, processing and structuring big data but it is not efficient at retrieval. A NoSQL database is needed for accessing big data in real-time.

Catalog & Content Management 

Commercial web apps present catalogs of product information that change frequently over time. And the kind of data stored varies widely over the various types of products stored in the catalog. And in general content used by apps includes many kinds of structured and unstructured data—text, graphics, photos, audio, video and presentations, as well as user-generated content, such as reviews, ratings and comments. It’s a struggle to manage these diverse content types in the fixed data model in a relational database. NoSQL databases are able to store rich, complex catalog & user-generated content in its flexible data model.

Mobile Applications

Mobile users spend most of their time in custom apps that access information in the cloud. New app developers can struggle with availability and performance using a relational database. NoSQL databases address these issues with speed and scalability as the user base grows especially in a markets where app usage can go viral.

Internet of Things

There are a lot of toasters out there and IoT will put them all on the Internet! But seriously, IoT applications use large numbers of sensors and collect large amounts of data. Relational databases don’t handle the volume, velocity and variety of sensor data well. NoSQL databases can scale to process concurrent data access of many millions of connected devices.

Fraud Detection

Credit card companies foot the bill for fraud but customers expect immediate confirmation at the cash register on online. Fraud detection software has to be fast and relational databases are challenged in handling the volume of data required to feed fraud detection algorithms. NoSQL is able to provide data access in a way that relational databases cannot.

Does every web and mobile app need a NoSQL database? Not necessarily. But if your application is similar to any of the examples presented here you must give NoSQL serious consideration. The good news is some outsourced software development firms are expert at the smart use of NoSQL databases when they develop your web and mobile apps.

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