I along with 180 other people and veritable who's who of NoSQL vendors, attended the A NoSQL Evening in Palo Alto NoSQL Meetup on Tuesday. The format was a panel of 10 vendors--10gen, Basho, CouchOne, Cloudant, Cloudera, GoGrid, InfiniteGraph, Membase, Riptano, Scality--sitting in two rows of chairs in front of what seemed like a pretty diverse audience. Tim Anglade (founder, A NOSQL Summer) moderated. Tim kept things moving by asking a few leading questions and the panel chimed in with answers. Quite a few questions came from the audience, which was refreshing.
Overall a genial evening with some good discussion. I was pleased that the panel members didn't just automatically slip into marketing speak. Most of the discussions were on point rather than just another excuse to hit the talking points. There were some complaints about the talk not being technical enough, but I don't think that was really the purpose of this kind of talk. The panel format is excellent at giving a wide range of views on general topics, and that's exactly how the evening went.
Some key takeaways:
- Good energy. A lot of people are trying to good things and are excited to be in a space where technology still matters more than politics. Real problems are being solved for customers and that's motivating.
- NoSQL took away the relational model and gave nothing back. Using NoSQL for complex data puts way too much pressure on the programmer.
- NoSQL will not converge. There's no consensus on what the next thing will be, so we are unlikely to see any standardization in the NoSQL world any time soon. There is a convergence on some features, but it seems the products will evolve to serve specific markets. This is not a bad thing. NoSQL doesn't need to converge on one stack. Products can remain differentiated by being able solve specific problems.
- NoSQL has a parallel to the "back to the land movement". As the relational world and the framework world got ever more complex and expensive, a counter movement developed that sought out simplicity and transparency.