Couchbase today announced the results of an industry survey conducted in December that shows growing adoption of NoSQL in 2012. According to the survey, the majority of the more than 1,300 respondents will fund NoSQL projects in the coming year, saying the technology is becoming more important or critical to their company’s daily operations. Respondents also indicated that the lack of flexibility/rigid schemas associated with relational technology was a primary driver toward NoSQL adoption.
NoSQL 2012 Survey Highlights
Key data points from the Couchbase NoSQL survey include:
- Nearly half of the more than 1,300 respondents indicated they have funded NoSQL projects in the first half of this year. In companies with more than 250 developers, nearly 70% will fund NoSQL projects over the course of 2012.
- 49% cited rigid schemas as the primary driver for their migration from relational to NoSQL database technology. Lack of scalability and high latency/low performance also ranked highly among the reasons given for migrating to NoSQL (see chart below for more details).
- 40% overall say that NoSQL is very important or critical to their daily operations, with another 37% indicating it is becoming more important.
Surprises from the Survey
Language mix. A common theme in the results was what one could interpret as the “mainstreaming” of NoSQL database technology. The languages being used to build applications atop NoSQL database technology, while they include a variety of more progressive choices, are dominated by the mundane: Java and C#. And while we’ve had a lot of anecdotal interest in a pure C driver for Couchbase (which we now have, by the way), only 2.1% of the respondents indicated it was the “most widely used” language for application development in their environment, behind Java, C#, PHP, Ruby, Python and Perl (in order).
Schema management is the #1 pain driving NoSQL adoption. So I’ll admit that I wasn’t actually surprised by this one, because I’d already been surprised by it earlier. Two years ago if you had asked me what the biggest need we were addressing was, I would have said it was the need for a “scale-out” solution at the data layer versus the “scale-up” nature of the relational model. That users wanted a database that scaled like their application tier – just throw more cheap servers behind a load balancer as capacity needs increase. While that is still clearly important, the survey results confirmed what I’d been hearing (to my initial surprise) from users: the flexibility to store whatever you want in the database and to change your mind, without the requirement to declare or manage a schema, is more important.