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In an ever-changing world, the data surrounding relational and non-relational databases is no different. While there are proponents for both, it seems to be a case by case basis for which is best for a particular environment. And, with the pace of innovation, the answer can be swayed on a frequent basis. With all that being said, the numbers don't lie, and there is evidence of a shift that is occurring.

While most of the stalwart SQL related databases (MSSQL, Oracle RDBMS, DB2, etc.) remain stagnant, there has been a decline in interest for MySQL. Might seem surprising given the fact that one of the core components of the original LAMP stack is losing ground. How could that be the case? In essence, a lot has changed since it came into prominence. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that it was purchased by Oracle. No longer an independent entity, you have one company controlling two prominent database choices. Is it possible for Oracle to be unbiased and treat each on its own merits? Perhaps. Only the folks inside the company know the true answer to that. Whatever the answer may be, it goes without question that the momentum that MySQL once had has been subdued.

People that have paid attention to the history of MySQL would automatically assume that the decline in the use of that database must have been transferred to MariaDB. After all, that is the offshoot of MySQL that occurred after Oracle purchased it. But, the numbers are not indicating that to be the case. While the number of job postings indicating an interest in finding someone with MariaDB skills have gained over 100% over the last 15 months, the overall numbers are still rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. They do not make up for the overall drop in MySQL over that same time period.
Therefore, who made up for the gap? From the numbers being analyzed, the one area that has seen significant gains is NoSQL related databases. These non-relational databases have increased by nearly 25% over the time period. Not surprisingly, it is being led by MongoDB in overall numbers. However, after an initial surge in the first three months of data collected, the results of MongoDB have somewhat stagnated as well. So, where is the growth coming from? The numbers are telling us that it is coming primarily from HBase and Cassandra. Apache HBase and Apache Cassandra have seen growth rates of roughly 50%. More importantly, in both cases, the growth has been steady at each time interval. These two, of the more well known NoSQL databases analyzed, are the only ones that have shown that kind of consistency.
However, even after trying to break down the data to determine where the growth is coming from, challenges still persist. After all, this is analyzing employment listings, and they have a tendency to be vague at times. For instance, here are a couple of bullet points from a more common listing requiring a need for someone with knowledge in NoSQL databases:
  • Thorough knowledge and deep understanding of internals of NOSQL approach
  • Proven experience administrating large-scale NoSQL databases
  • A keen interest in NoSQL and Cutting Edge technologies
Thus, there are a number of listings that provide a lack of understanding of what particular technology they are using. Is this company utilizing MongoDB, Cassandra or HBase? All are a possibility, as well as another NoSQL derived database. With that being said, at least the result would fall under a general NoSQL category, so we can still confirm the growth trajectory in this area.

At the end of the day, what does all this data tell us? The large SQL related databases keep moving along in a consistent, yet mundane pattern. This is, more than likely, largely due to their installation base being large corporations that have the tendency to move at a more methodical pace. The exception being MySQL, which has seen a drop over the time period evaluated. And, of course, to their slow demise comes the rise of the NoSQL databases. In simplistic terms, there is a transition that is occurring from relational to non-relational databases. Probably not too surprising with the emphasis on “big data” in today's environment. So, will this momentum continue? I would expect so, but we will only know for sure as we continuously get in new batches of data in the months ahead.

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