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SQL vs NoSQL for startups  

Dmitri Melikyan extracts the following key points about the choice of SQL vs NoSQL for startups:

  1. Relational databases are not easily scalable. It will require a lot of efforts to build a scalable and redundant setup.
  2. Relational databases provide a very rich function set, which makes the application layer of the product simpler (as long as no performance requirements/problems exist)
  3. There are NoSQL data stores, which are scalable easily, but they are mainly key-value stores with a very limited function set.
  4. It is very easy to develop on schema-­free NoSQL databases, especially for fresh projects, but making data consistent from one release to another will require additional programming and tracking.
  5. On the other hand, altering of a schema in some relational databases, e.g. MySQL with millions of records will take time, which may lead to downtimes of the whole application.


Ideally, I'd encourage startups to architect in a way that allows use of different data stores for different features.

One small quibble... the "SQL doesn't scale" myth is just that, a myth. "Proper" SQL databases like Oracle or SQL Server, while expensive, can scale quite handily to enormous amounts of data. Most startups, even if extremely successful, will never grow to the Google-like scale that requires a NoSQL solution like BigTable.

Use what makes sense for your context, but don't underestimate the ability of SQL to scale.

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