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This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites.

Dokkat appears to think that databases are overused. "Instead of a database, I just serialize my data to JSON, saving and loading it to disk when necessary," he writes. "All the data management is made on the program itself, which is faster AND easier than using SQL queries." What is missing here? Why should a developer use a database when saving data to a disk might work just as well?

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New submitter rescrv writes "Key-value stores (like Cassandra, Redis and DynamoDB) have been replacing traditional databases in many demanding web applications (e.g. Twitter, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others). But for the most part, the differences between existing NoSQL systems come down to the choice of well-studied implementation techniques; in particular, they all provide a similar API that achieves high performance and scalability by limiting applications to simple operations like GET and PUT.

HyperDex, a new key-value store developed at Cornell, stands out in the NoSQL spectrum with its unique design. HyperDex employs a unique multi-dimensional hash function to enable efficient search operations — that is, objects may be retrieved without using the key (PDF) under which they are stored. Other systems employ indexing techniques to enable search, or enumerate all objects in the system. In contrast, HyperDex's design enables applications to retrieve search results directly from servers in the system. The results are impressive. Preliminary benchmark results on the project website show that HyperDex provides significant performance improvements over Cassandra and MongoDB. With its unique design, and impressive performance, it seems fittng to ask: Is HyperDex the start of NoSQL 2.0?"


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Lucas123 writes "New research shows that far more than wireless network or CPUs, the NAND flash memory in cell phones, and in particular smartphones, affects the device's performance when it comes to loading apps, surfing the web and loading and reading documents. In tests with top-selling 16GB smartphones, NAND flash memory slowed mobile app performance from two to three times with one exception, Kingston's embedded memory card; that card slowed app performance 20X. At the bottom of the bottleneck is the fact that while network and CPUs speeds have kept pace with mobile app development, flash throughput hasn't. The researchers from Georgia Tech and NEC Corp. are working on methods to improve flash performance (PDF), including using a PRAM buffer to stage writes or be used as the final location for the SQLite databases."


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New submitter rnmartinez writes "As the Project Manager for a non-profit looking to implement a tech project, I am running into a few dilemmas, and as a casual Slashdotter I could really use some help. I'll start with a brief explanation of the project. We research issues in Canadian Immigrants, and found that there was a lack of recent, unaggregated information. As we dug further, we found that some data was available, but there was no central repository. Therefore, we are building a web based service to collect this data, with the intent of having it display in Google Maps and then be downloadable as a CSV file that is readable in GIS software such as ESRI Arcsoft, so that data may be visualized."

The dilemma: "...It seems that MS SQL offers more functions with regards to geometry built in then MySQL, and my developers (good guys, but MS guys at heart) want me to switch to .net NUKE/MSSQL and ditch the open source stuff." Read on for further details.



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