Originally Written by Dave Anselmi
In America, we pride ourselves on our freedom of speech. So, people certainly can say whatever they like.
But recently, a whopper of a tale came to us through the grapevine: Someone’s been saying that relational database management systems (RDBMSs) are “legacy technology”. We wholeheartedly disagree, so we’re taking the time to exercise our first amendment rights as well, chiming in on the topic.
For starters, the word “legacy” implies something that’s outdated. But there’s a great reason why 79 percent of businesses using a cloud database are using a RDBMS that’s SQL-based: These kinds of databases ensure atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability (ACID) during every transaction. ACID compliance guarantees that all e-commerce transactions are completed correctly and quickly, which are traits that never get old.
While NoSQL databases can be used to handle read-heavy workloads and unstructured data, they certainly have significant limitations. Providing guaranteed ACID transactions—let alone joins—with NoSQL is a non-starter: These two functionalities are not guaranteed by the new and unproven database management system. Neither is referential integrity, nor anything else really critical to financial transactions.
When you use a scale-out SQL RDBMS-based cloud database, on the other hand, you can think of its technology as sort of a stern ‘governess’ that oversees operations to make sure everything’s working as it should. The governess rarely smiles, but she always treats everyone fairly.
With the governess in place, when users click “buy,” inventory is automatically decremented, as is the available-to-purchase number; invoices are created; order numbers assigned; and receipts sent to customers. In order to allow any of these things to happen, though, all of them need to happen. Ensuring the validity of this kind of multiphase commit, the RDBMS ‘governess’ makes the application developer’s job much easier, and more-importantly, ACID-compliant.
Now if you take the governess away, the coder has to keep track of all of these happenings instead. This increases the chance of something slipping through the cracks.
There’s a reason all e-commerce sites run on SQL-based databases: You need ACID compliance for e-commerce.
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