9 NoSQL Pioneers Who Modernized Data Management - InformationWeek

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8/30/2015
12:06 PM
Charles Babcock
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9 NoSQL Pioneers Who Modernized Data Management

The folks profiled here are tackling data management for the Internet Age, helping us all understand what can be done with a mass of unstructured information. See how their work has transformed the way we handle databases.
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John Quinn
John Quinn, VP of engineering at Digg, caused NoSQL doubters - defenders of traditional relational systems -- to question themselves when he announced the Digg social networking site was in the midst of a move off MySQL and onto Cassandra. He did it in a blog titled, 'Saying Yes to NoSQL; Going Steady with Cassandra,' which circulated widely in March 2010. 
Quinn was, he said in the blog, a devoted user of relational databases for 20 years. The switch 'feels like a bold move,' he noted. MySQL was a great open source database when Digg was young, he explained, but by early 2010, Quinn had difficulty in maintaining performance when dealing with Digg's rapidly growing data set. That growth will continue, Quinn predicted at the time, 'with no end in sight,' which meant Digg needed to find a system that could respond to Digg readers faster, while still capturing the data. 
Consistency was less of an issue than responding quickly to thousands of Digg readers. 'We were inspired by Google and Amazon's broad use of their non-relational BigTable and Dynamo systems. We evaluated all the usual open source NoSQL suspects. After considerable debate, we decided to go with Cassandra,' he wrote. 
Quinn left Digg in 2012 and became VP of engineering at Gilt Group, where he no longer worked with Cassandra but used Voldemort and MongoDB instead. In January 2012, he became CTO and founder of Bonus.ly, a service for awarding microbonuses to employees; Oracle and Gilt are customers. He is the former CTO of SquareTrade and a former principal software engineer at Oracle. 
(Image: John Quinn)

John Quinn

John Quinn, VP of engineering at Digg, caused NoSQL doubters defenders of traditional relational systems -- to question themselves when he announced the Digg social networking site was in the midst of a move off MySQL and onto Cassandra. He did it in a blog titled, "Saying Yes to NoSQL; Going Steady with Cassandra," which circulated widely in March 2010.

Quinn was, he said in the blog, a devoted user of relational databases for 20 years. The switch "feels like a bold move," he noted. MySQL was a great open source database when Digg was young, he explained, but by early 2010, Quinn had difficulty in maintaining performance when dealing with Digg's rapidly growing data set. That growth will continue, Quinn predicted at the time, "with no end in sight," which meant Digg needed to find a system that could respond to Digg readers faster, while still capturing the data.

Consistency was less of an issue than responding quickly to thousands of Digg readers. "We were inspired by Google and Amazon's broad use of their non-relational BigTable and Dynamo systems. We evaluated all the usual open source NoSQL suspects. After considerable debate, we decided to go with Cassandra," he wrote.

Quinn left Digg in 2012 and became VP of engineering at Gilt Group, where he no longer worked with Cassandra but used Voldemort and MongoDB instead. In January 2012, he became CTO and founder of Bonus.ly, a service for awarding microbonuses to employees; Oracle and Gilt are customers. He is the former CTO of SquareTrade and a former principal software engineer at Oracle.

(Image: John Quinn)

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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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9/4/2015 | 6:25:03 PM
How about Chris Lindblad as the 10th?
A nominee that's come in as the tenth pioneer is Chris Lindblad, co-founder of MarkLogic predecessor Cerisent in 2001. It became MarkLogic in 2005 with headquarters in San Carlos, Calif. He is the former chief architect of the Ultraseek search engine at Infoseek; Ultraseek is now part of Autonomy. Lindblad still works as chief of development at the firm. MarkLogic is a document-oriented database that evolved out of XML database roots, which can also conduct relational's ACID transactions. The BBC used MarkLogic for its 2012 Olympic Data Services. So is Chris a NoSQL pioneer or a combined database system pioneer? Any votes for Chris Lindblad?

 

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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9/4/2015 | 5:53:11 PM
Altiscale CEO describes Cutting's sense of system design
This comment came in from Raymie Stata, who hired Doug Cutting at Yahoo at the time Stata was chief architect of algorithmic search. (He's now CEO of Hadoop company, Altiscale.) "What I appreciate about Doug is that he has a great design sense--relatively few programmers have that--and yet he's also very practical (and prodigious), so he gets things done fast.  Lucene and Avro demonstrate Doug's originality and creativity, and the result is clean but practical systems that have become very popular. The case of Hadoop is different: his good design sense told him that the Google guys did a great job and that there wasn't much sense in trying to improve upon that. He stated this quite explicitly. While those around them (some inside Yahoo!, some out) were busy trying to improve upon the MapReduce paradigm, Doug used Google's paper as the blueprint and (with Mike Cafarella) cranked out the initial implementation amazingly fast. This was important, because it turned out that the important engineering was more about building an implementation that could scale, rather than improving upon the abstraction. It's unusual for a single developer to have two 'smash hits' in Open Source (Lucene and Hadoop). I chalk that up to Doug's combination of design sense and practicality." - Raymie Stata, CEO of Altiscale

 

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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8/31/2015 | 4:22:55 PM
NoSQL system builders are not necessarily data scientists
Asksqn, Few NoSQL pioneers would ever claim to be data scientists. They're system builders for big data purposes, not data scientists working with big data. But you might try Lisa Morgan's: 6 Characteristics of Data Drive Rock Stars. http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/6-characteristics-of-data-driven-rock-stars/d/d-id/1320502

 
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