Couchbase Server 4.0 Lets SQL Users Take A Seat - InformationWeek

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10/6/2015
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Couchbase Server 4.0 Lets SQL Users Take A Seat

Couchbase's new SQL-compatible query language bridges the gap to JSON. Couchbase executives say this enables developers who are familiar with SQL and tools built for SQL, such as Excel, to work with NoSQL.

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NoSQL database system provider Couchbase delivered on an earlier promise to make its offering more accessible to the masses. At its Couchbase Live event in New York on Oct. 6, the company announced Couchbase Server 4.0, which introduces Couchbase's own SQL-compatible query language for this NoSQL system, expanding the potential use-cases for the platform.

The release comes at a time when NoSQL databases are enjoying fast market adoption driven by their suitability for the big data generated by Web data, mobile data, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The top NoSQL data system providers that compete with Couchbase include MongoDB and DataStax.

But there's a skills gap. NoSQL data systems, while not new, have gained big momentum in the last few years. Many use JSON, a data interchange format and language often used on the Web for unstructured data that is a next generation, replacing XML. That means that the SQL query languages for traditional structured data and relational databases that so many developers are familiar with cannot be used to query this unstructured data. Couchbase's new release introduces N1QL (pronounced nickel), a new SQL-compatible query language that can bridge the gap to JSON.

(Image: pheonix3d/iStockphoto)

(Image: pheonix3d/iStockphoto)

"The new release allows us to take a huge step forward in types of use-cases and applications we can support," Ravi Mayuram, senior vice president of products and engineering, told Information Week in an interview.

"We have done something very significant here, because we have extended SQL to work with JSON. We've extended SQL to work on NoSQL data," Mayuram said. "You don't have to retrain SQL developers."

Those developers still have access to a wide range of existing familiar tools, too, Mayuram said.

"We did not change the steering wheel," he said. "You are driving the car the same way. By doing it in an SQL manner we get the benefit of the rest of the ecosystem and tools. Many companies have built a phenomenal set of tools already."

Couchbase Server 4.0 with N1QL also enables standard SQL-based reporting and data visualization tools to access data stored within Couchbase, the company said in a statement. That enables enterprises to gain business insight using widely adopted BI and data visualization tools, including Microsoft Excel, Tableau, Looker, Qlik, and others to access data stored in Couchbase.

Several Couchbase customers presented new applications and use-cases based on the expansion at the event in New York on Tuesday, including Marriott, Gannett, and Nielsen.

[Looking for more on Couchbase vs. MongoDB? Read MongoDB Counters Couchbase Performance Claims.]

Couchbase said the new release also includes improvements such as global secondary indexes, multi-dimensional scaling, and cross-data center replication. Mayuram said these features provide enterprises with the breadth of functionality they need in a single distributed database for Web, mobile, and IoT applications.

In June Couchbase competitor MongoDB also announced plans to add support for SQL queries, and set fall 2015 as the time frame for delivery.

Gartner has placed Couchbase and DataStax in the Visionaries quadrant of its most recent Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems -- in a report that includes both relational and non-relational database management platforms. MongoDB is in the Challenges quadrant. The Leaders quadrant members are primarily vendors offering structured database systems or hybrid structured and unstructured database systems.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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