The evolution of relational databases: how has the evolution of big data influenced database choices?

The mention of big data has been around for years now. Blogs, data management companies, IT companies and experts have been posting about big data. What is big data? Experts say big data is everywhere. So, is every data we come across during our daily escapades big data? What qualifies as big data? How big is it in reality? How can one manage something that is so vast and diverse? Is this the end of relational database management systems (RDBMS)?

We have seen for ages how new data technologies have been replacing old data technologies. Just like Macs have almost replaced desktops and smartphones have replaced flip phones, we can expect the advent of big data to call for an end to RDBMS and other traditional data management systems.

Surprisingly, that is not the case. The evolution of RDBMS has ensured that big data will always find organized storage, management, and use. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL, the well known and much heard names of RDBMS are going to dominate the data world a bit longer thanks to the peaceful coexistence and the powerful co-evolution of the data types and databases. Therefore, it is with certainty that big data scientists predict the coexistence of big data and conventional RDBMS for a while longer.

What qualifies as big data?

Right here, we should also try to explain the nature of big data and what exactly it encompasses. To learn more about the traits of big data, you can visit remotedba.com. You can technically deem any data as big data once it satisfies the three Vs –

Velocity: big data grows at an exponential rate. Unstructured data from social media interactions, customer reviews, and even IoT data keeps flowing in from a myriad of sources into the database. By the end of 2025, data scientists expect a volume of over 163 zettabytes of actionable data and unstructured data.  Any RDBMS that can fit these unstructured data can aspire to survive this big data rush.

Volume: the amount of data that flows in every minute is quite beyond the reach of simple human comprehension. Since almost all devices, including smartphones, iPads, and FitBits generate tons of actionable data, the scalability of the RDBMS that aspires to curate big data becomes the biggest concern. Last time we checked, IoT devices were contributing to the highest volumes of big data across the world, and even the biggest data companies were updating their database management systems to accommodate the huge volumes.

Variety: the traditional RDBMS could only fit a finite variety of data. They needed to reform the data into rigid formats to accommodate them and categorize them correctly. However, the sheer variety of data flowing in every minute eliminates the possibility of restructuring and formatting data into rigid forms. There is data from social networking sites, business websites, e-commerce sites and customer service teams of the same company that go into a single massive database. Big data databases can store and manage the heterogeneous data types without using cumbersome data methods. 

Why does a new business need big data?

Any relational database appropriate for big data should also provide an army of tools and applications for regulation of data access. Along with core management and storage facilities, your data needs better security and accessibility. The inclusion of new applications and tools can help improve the user experience (UX) of the database.

The database now only powers a business it also powers the website UX in one way or another. Choosing a powerful, flexible yet scalable design that can fit your big data is the only way to ensure healthy growth of your enterprise. Even the new start-ups are investing in big data, primarily because almost all businesses with an online presence require machine learning. With the help of machine learning and predictive analytics, companies can predict the future customer behavior and buy choices. This will influence their marketing "habits" and their sales pitches. Can you imagine how your ROI can increase if you found a way to predict the next week's lead product or best performing offer? 

Should you opt for big data?

Big data is a tool and a weapon, with which the new and old entrepreneurs are fighting the war of customer outreach, sales, and marketing. Sadly, big data is necessary for everyone but affordable for only a few. The databases that can store, use and share the astronomic quantities of data do not come cheap. In addition to the cost of setting up the structure, there is a recurring cost of maintenance that can cripple a small to medium sized corporation, yet to break even. Therefore, before leaping the shiny new thing in the market (big data), assess your present situation. Do you need big data or a new RDBMS platform? Does your business feel debilitated without big data management? Are you ready to brace an onslaught of new technologies including Hadoop and NoSQL databases? Unless the answer to these questions is a "YES," you should reconsider your big plans. 

A cost-effective solution to your data troubles

Several companies have been outsourcing their data needs to parties who know it the best. Several dedicated data management services exist, who can collect, organize, store and provide the data as per your company's need. This is a much cheaper option since these companies already have dedicated structures they can leverage as per your unique needs. Some of them have their NoSQL solutions that can help you scale up with your growing volumes of data. We know data needs of a company are unavoidable. So, you should shop around a bit and find an expert remote data service that can satiate all your data needs.

Big data is more manageable than you think. It might not be compulsory for the immediate success of a company, but its cost should not be the factor keeping you from adopting it. There are several open source databases and database management systems that can provide you with big data solutions.

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