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SQL Server Developers Worried as Netflix Chooses NoSQL

Netflix is hiring, but SQL Server gurus need not apply.

The company that transformed from a clunky DVD-by-mail delivery system to cutting-edge video streaming from the cloud has some SQL Server developers worried about their future job prospects as Netflix embraces the NoSQL movement. Few things are scarier than wondering if you backed the wrong horse in your career choice.

"This sort of questions are freaking me out," wrote one blogger about a forum post that expressed concern about the Netflix decision. "Can you imagine how panicked programmers are, knowing that not only tens of programming languages are out there (plus C/C++ is dead, Java is dead, etc.), but also a couple of different programming paradigms?"

The post he was referring to appeared on a SQLServerCentral forum and referenced a Netflix blog discussing the move to the NoSQL camp. "Is this something relational database guys has to be concerned about? I am concerned on what future holds for SQL-Developers and SQL-server DBAs," said forum member sqlcool.

The blog posting that stirred all this up was titled "NoSQL at Netflix" and was written a couple weeks ago by Yury Izrailevsky, director of Cloud and Systems Infrastructure at Netflix.

"While it is not easy to re-architect your systems to not run join queries, or not rely on read-after-write consistency (hey, just cache the value in your app!), we have found ourselves braving the new frontier of NoSQL distributed databases," Izrailevsky said.

The Neflix exec explained: "the reasons behind our choice of three ... NoSQL tools: SimpleDB, Hadoop/HBase and Cassandra."

After discussing each one, he admitted:

Adopting the non-relational model in general is not easy, and Netflix has been paying a steep pioneer tax while integrating these rapidly evolving and still maturing NoSQL products. There is a learning curve and an operational overhead. Still, the scalability, availability and performance advantages of the NoSQL persistence model are evident and are paying for themselves already, and will be central to our long-term cloud strategy.

There has been plenty of other discussion about Netflix and its embrace of NoSQL, including a technical white paper by Netflix software architect "Sid" Anand. He’s going to talk more about it in a meeting next week titled "NoSQL @ Netflix."

Meanwhile, as Izrailevsky concluded: "For those technology superstars out there: Netflix is hiring."

Ouch.

Are you a SQL Server guy worried about this kind of stuff? Please share your thoughts by commenting here or drop me a line.

[Editor's note: This article was updated from its original posting, with corrected information pointed out by the commenter referenced in paragraph 3 and 4.]

Posted by David Ramel on 02/10/2011 at 1:15 PM


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