There are three primary concerns you must balance when choosing a data management system: consistency, availability, and partition tolerance.
- Consistency – means that each client always has the same view of the data.
- Availability – means that all clients can always read and write.
- Partition tolerance – means that the system works well across physical network partitions.
According to the CAP Theorem, you can only pick two.
In addition to CAP configurations, another significant way data management systems vary is by the data model they use: relational, key-value, column-oriented, or document-oriented (there are others, but these are the main ones).
- Relational systems are the databases we’ve been using for a while now. RDBMSs and systems that support ACIDity and joins are considered relational.
- Key-value systems basically support get, put, and delete operations based on a primary key.
- Column-oriented systems still use tables but have no joins (joins must be handled within your application). Obviously, they store data by column as opposed to traditional row-oriented databases. This makes aggregations much easier.
- Document-oriented systems store structured “documents” such as JSON or XML but have no joins (joins must be handled within your application). It’s very easy to map data from object-oriented software to these systems.