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Is Microsoft Feeling the "NoSQL" Heat?

Think the "NoSQL" movement isn't prominent on Microsoft's radar screen?

Think again. Not only is the company tracking it, some people inside Microsoft have actually jumped on the anti-SQL bandwagon. This came to light when Microsoft Technical Fellow Dave Campbell took some pot-shots at the latest threat to the company's bread-and-butter database strategy during the recent Professional Developer's Conference.

"The relational database model has stood the test of time," the database guru said in an interview with Charles Torre on Microsoft's Channel 9 video feed from PDC. "And it's interesting in that there's this anti-SQL movement, if you will," he continued. "You know some people follow that. The challenge is that you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. "

Some people? How about your people? Here's an exact transcription of his subsequent remarks:

"I've been doing this database stuff for over 20 years and I remember hearing that the object databases were going to wipe out the SQL databases. And then a little less than 10 years ago the XML databases were going to wipe out.... We actually ... you know... people inside Microsoft, [have said] 'let's stop working on SQL Server, let's go build a native XML store because in five years it's all going....'"

Campbell, and others during the show, pointed to the cloud as Microsoft's answer to the future of database technology.

He said, "I think a lot of people in this anti-SQL movement, they're really looking for the cloud benefits, and the thing that we're trying to achieve with SQL Azure is to give you the cloud benefits, but not throw out the model that has worked for so long and people are so familiar with. So [we're] trying to retain the best of both worlds."

The "NoSQLers" weren't his only target. He also took some shots at a certain unnamed company trying to get with the "database service" program.

"Another company made some noise ... tried to make some noise in front of our noise, a week or two ago, by announcing what they're calling a relational database service," Campbell said. "All they did is they took a relational database server and they stuck it in a VM, okay. So you still have to buy the VM. So if you've got a very small database, and you want to run it for a month, you're paying like 11 cents an hour or so. The smallest database you can get up there, is approaching $100 a month, just to have it, because you need to rent the whole infrastructure to go off and do that."

I don't know what that unnamed company is, but I found this announcement interesting: "Introducing Amazon RDS - The Amazon Relational Database Service." This came in an Oct. 26 blog posting on the Amazon Web Services Blog page.

Campbell went on to compare the pricing structure of that unnamed service with Microsoft's database service: "Our cost of SQL Azure in a 1GB database is about one-tenth of what you could do in the other thing that was recently announced ... from some other company."

And truth be told, there were some very cool presentations around the cloud and new ways of using data at PDC. I found the Dallas project particularly interesting.

What about you? What do you think of the whole thing? Comment below or drop me a line at [email protected]. Let's talk.

Posted by David Ramel on 12/01/2009

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