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Polyglot Persistence: It Can Get Messy

Adam Keys (Gowalla)
Location: Ballroom III
Presentation: external link
Average rating: ***..
(3.39, 18 ratings)

Applications are strange things once they are in production. People use them and your data grows in size and complexity. Eventually a point is reached where the database can’t keep up and other layers are added. Sometimes it’s caching, other times it’s some kind of full-text indexing. After a few iterations of dealing with growth, applications can end up with multiple persistence layers. It can get messy.

We usually start our applications with a relational database and move on to more interesting problems. But where do you go from there? Is it better to make the leap to a document database, add caching, apply full-text indexing, or something else? What libraries are out there for growing our application? Should we go NoSQL, stick with SQL, or go with an unholy hodgepodge of storage systems? How do we deploy and monitor our new hotness?

In this talk, we’ll look at how to choose between caches, key-value stores, document databases, full-text indexes, and distributed databases. We’ll think about how to integrate these with our existing models and what kinds of libraries we might want to use. Finally, we’ll examine the tools and processes to operate our new systems in production.

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Adam Keys


Adam Keys is a software developer, entertainer and lover of animals. He works at Gowalla, reads a lot, and enjoys cracking wise.

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Steve Agalloco
05/19/2011 5:18am EDT

Great lessons learned here, one of the best talks I went to this week.