Will Transactions Kill NoSQL?

Lead by Google Spanner, the past year has seen a renaissance in NewSQL projects focused on providing transactional integrity for large, distributed databases that power big applications and cloud services. I believe the primary motivation is the challenge and reluctance of developers to reason in lieu of transactional semantics.

Given the blueprint provided by Google’s Megastore and Spanner publications, it stands to reason that transactions could ultimately spell the end of open source NoSQL databases. In this talk, I argue that the rise of mobile introduces new challenges (e.g., offline data and synchronization) that fundamentally cannot be addressed in transactional systems. Instead, I predict that the majority of NoSQL systems will introduce new behaviors (e.g., strong-consistency, multi-document transactions) as API options.

As an example, I will discuss current work at Cloudant to provide strong-consistency for single-document operations.

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