Enterprise IT

Why NoSQL is Gaining on SQL in the Cloud Database Market Faster Than You Think

We recently assembled a panel of technology leaders to analyze the key drivers behind the rapid growth of the public cloud database market. Not surprisingly, the consensus is that this trend will continue into 2021 and beyond. But their prediction that the NoSQL market’s growth will explode and reach – even eclipse – the value of the SQL market within the next few years should cause many industry-watchers to do a double-take. 

Those were among the key takeaways from the virtual roundtable entitled “Cloud Providers & the Importance of Database Services,” co-moderated by Sagar Kadakia, Head of Enterprise IT Research at 7Park Data; and Mark Brinda, a Partner in Bain & Company’s Technology Practice.

The discussion began with an examination of 7Park Data’s estimation that the value of the public cloud database market is $11.8B – a 40% increase from 2019

Michael Delzer, Founder of Delzer Consulting, believes this trend dates back much further to the turn of the century.

“We’re seeing a ripple effect of preparing for Y2K,” he said. “(After that work was completed), those companies that became early cloud computing adopters have finished migrating simple apps and are now progressing to their larger apps. Those companies who have been cloud adoption laggards and instead only performed hardware refreshes are now hitting a refresh cycle where it’s going to be cheaper for them to lift and shift into the cloud.”

Praveen Nidumolu, Transformation Leader, Network, IT and Technology Strategy at Verizon, agreed. He also pointed out that the timeline matches with the trend of more enterprises moving away from Oracle and other vendors’ on-prem databases to cloud databases.

Nidumolu said, “It’s important to have a scalable model, but if you have large databases which are monoliths, you cannot guarantee performance. So it’s very critical to have the horizontal partitioning or sharding mechanism with distributed databases which are important for handling transactional data.”

The graph below shows the remarkable growth of the public cloud database market over just the last two years. The public cloud SQL sector (represented in blue) grew 41% in 2020 compared to 2019, while the NoSQL sector grew 31%. But note that the public cloud SQL market grew 50% between 2018 and 2019. That means 2020 represents a YoY deceleration in growth. The opposite is true for the NoSQL sector that is experiencing a growth acceleration.

And both Delzer and Nidumolu predicted NoSQL will virtually close that gap within roughly the next 3-5 years. 

“Moving towards the NoSQL model allows you to scale at a significant level, although it can also take away the ability to run complex queries,” said Nidumolu. “There are pros and cons to both, and that’s why there will always be a place for the traditional SQL model where availability and consistency are critical. But I see a significant move to NoSQL models because of the sheer scale that’s required today.” 

Delzer compared the database market’s evolution to what the storage market experienced years ago, dating back to when file share storage represented a small portion of the overall block storage companies were maintaining. Today, the opposite is true: block storage is an incredibly small part of the market compared to the total amount of file storage. 

“(The same holds true for databases) with block storage being your Oracles and SQLs and your file storage being equivalent to the NoSQLs,” he said. “As people start to look at how they can better use and take advantage of this unstructured file content, they are discovering that is more easily consumable in NoSQL-type environments. We’re at a transition point where NoSQL adoption is going to take off and (SQL growth ) is going to be more horizontal. It’ll always be there, but it just won’t have the hockey stick growth rate of the NoSQL space.”

And this issue consumed only about a third of the entire discussion. We also examined 7Park’s analysis of the growth of the relational database market, the impact of Snowflake’s growing footprint within organizations on the data warehousing market, and how the dynamic between AWS DocumentDB and MongoDB is shaping the Document Store market.

We have posted the recording of the entire session here

Additionally, follow this link to download the 7Park Data Cloud Database Market map that enables you to visualize the database ecosystem, track your competition and target relevant segments.

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