Relational databases have dominated the software industry for a long time, providing mechanisms to store data persistently, manage transactions and handle standard interfaces and mechanisms to integrate application data and reporting. Relational databases underpin existing applications that meet current business needs. Relational databases are supported by an extensive ecosystem of tools; and there is a large labor pool qualified to implement and maintain these systems.

But organizations are increasingly considering alternatives to legacy relational infrastructure. Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of a new category of databases—known as NoSQL databases—that are challenging the dominance of relational databases. NoSQL (Not Only SQL) implies that when designing a software solution or product, there is more than one storage mechanism that could be used based on the needs.

Why consider a move from relational databases?

  • The need to handle new, multi-structured data types or scale beyond the capacity constraints of existing systems
  • The desire to identify viable alternatives to expensive proprietary database software
  • The increased agility or speed of development as companies adapt to the market more quickly and embrace agile development methodologies


Some projects are better suited to SQL databases, while others are better suited to NoSQL. Some could use either interchangeably.

When SQL fits better

  • Logically related data requirements that can be identified and modeled upfront
  • Centralized applications (e.g. ERP)
  • Data coming from one/few locations
  • Data integrity is mandatory with standards based requirements
  • Heavy duty transactional applications
  • Complex query-intensive environment
  • Vertically scaling server resources
  • Access to a large pool of SQL expert resources
  • Popular database choices—Microsoft SQL, Oracle, Postgres

When NoSQL fits better

  • Unrelated and evolving data requirements
  • Decentralized applications (e.g. Web, mobile, IOT)
  • Data coming in from many locations
  • Very large data sets (e.g. big data)
  • Agile development and the need to start coding right away
  • Speed and scalability is needed
  • Popular database choices—MongoDB, CouchDB, Redis, Cassandra

Where to implement NoSQL?

  • New applications – Begin by choosing a new cloud application and starting from the ground up. This minimizes the issues of application rewrites and data migrations.
  • Augmentation – Add NoSQL components to an existing database system.
  • Full rip and replace – For systems that prove too costly or unmanageable from an SQL perspective, consider a full replacement with NoSQL.

Lenovo NoSQL with MongoDB

The Lenovo NoSQL solution combines MongoDB software with the Lenovo x3850 X6 for a novel scale-up approach. The configuration leverages built-in hardware platform capabilities, such as support for up to four Intel Xeon E7 v3 series processors, 6 TB of high-speed/low-voltage TruDDR4 memory and 11 PCIe 3.0 slots. In addition, scalability and advanced enterprise RAS characteristics enable consolidation of MongoDB workloads onto fewer servers, thus reducing TCO and increasing performance.

Lenovo SQL – Microsoft and Postgres

Microsoft Data Warehouse Fast Track (DWFT) is a joint effort between Microsoft and Lenovo to deliver validated, pre-configured solutions that reduce the complexity and risk of implementing an SMP data warehouse based on SQL Server Enterprise Edition. The Fast Track program provides flexibility of solutions and uses the core capabilities of the Windows Server operating system and SQL Server. Read more about DWFT in the Maximum Performance, Minimal Risk for Data Warehousing blogAlso read about why it’s a good time to upgrade in the Upgrade from Microsoft  SQL 2005 & Server 2003 blog.

Lenovo X6 servers and the EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server database offer a comprehensive solution that enables IT leaders to efficiently and effectively meet the evolving demands of today’s exploding data loads and diverse data. Postgres Plus Enterprise Edition is a unique, open-source-based software offering that features database compatibility for Oracle environments at an attractive cost versus competitive offerings.

For more information:

Visit the Lenovo Solutions web site. Read Why Consolidate Databases on Lenovo X6 blog. Visit the web sites: Lenovo System x3850 X6, a 4U rack server scalable to four processors and Lenovo System x3950 X6, an 8U rack server scalable to eight processors.