MySQL+Memcached is still the workhorse

(originally posted at the Gear6 corporate blog: MySQL+Memcached is still the workhorse.  Please comment there.)

Because I'm becoming known as someone who knows something about "this whole NoSQL thing", people have started asking me to take a look at some of their systems or ideas, and tell them which NoSQL technology they should use.

To be fair, it is a confusing space right now, there are a LOT of NoSQL technologies showing up, and there is a lot of buzz from the tech press, and in blogs and on twitter.  Most of that buzz is, frankly, ignorant and uninformed, and is being written by people who do not have enough experience running live systems.

A couple of times already, someone has described an application or concept to me, and asked "So, should I use Cassandra, or CouchDB, or what?"

And I look at what they want to do, and say "Well, for this use case, probably the best storage pattern is normalized relational tables, with a properly tuned database server.  Put some memcached in the hot spots in your application. Maybe as you get really big, you can add in replication to some read slaves."

The relational table model is not dead, at all. It will never die, nor should we try to kill it.  We no longer have to be as religious about normal form, and we don't HAVE to fit everything everywhere into this form, but there is no reason to avoid it just because it's not "sexy and exotic".

Running a real live system is not a junior high prom.  You don't "win" by showing up with a sexy exotic date, and by wearing the prettiest outfit.

Running a real live system is running a farm, ploughing a field.  You want a workhorse that you know how to use, you know you can get gear for at the blacksmith and the tackle shop, and that you know you can hire field hands who know how to use it well and take of properly.

MySQL+Memcached is, today, still, that workhorse.