Broadening storage perspectives

Experimenting with the unknown broadens your perspective of what you’re comfortable with. Learning highlights what you may not be aware of, what you take for granted. A prime example is moving from a dependence on relational, SQL based storage systems into the land of NoSQL. When you swap out something as fundamental as how information is stored, you’ll naturally run into challenges. And they’re good challenges to face. They’ll reshape how you approach storage in general, for the better.

For example, if you move to a document database like MongoDB you will be forced to consider how information is partitioned within your system. Consequently, when working with relational databases, you’ll bring some of this partitioning back which can have significant benefits even in a relational model of storage.

Here are some additional benefits you will experience:

  • Develop software faster
    • Eliminate the ceremonial nature of describing new data structures and additions to data structures.
    • Less friction between application models and storage formats.
  • Increased software longevity
    • Better design because you no longer have to invest in costly translation layers to mediate between application models and storage formats. This translation has historically led to sub optimal application models, which often lead to issues down the road.
    • Distinct partitioning of your system, which lends itself well to scalability.
    • Partitioning simplifies your application models too.

Recently, I gave a talk about the benefits of partitioning and automating development machines which is a separate topic. But, we used a MongoDB development machine as an example and toward the end, discussed some of the reasons why alternative storage solutions like MongoDB are a valuable tool to add to an organization’s repertoire. Part 2 of the recording focuses on the benefits of leveraging MongoDB.