Feeds

SQL fights back against NoSQL's big data cred with SQL/MDA spec

The empire strikes back with multi-dimensional arrays

The essential guide to IT transformation

With the growing popularity of big-data tools like NoSQL databases and Hadoop, it might have looked like SQL could be in line to be moved on from “venerable” tag to “obsolete”, but last week, the ISO SQL working group agreed to start work on SQL/MDA (multi-dimensional array) specs.

The people behind SQL have decided it's time to get serious (really, really serious) about big (as in really, really big) multidimensional datasets, and have kicked off an effort to extend the standard, adding the new capabilities needed by spatial, scientific, engineering and medical users.

As spatial publication GIM International notes, SQL doesn't offer an elegant way to handle the kinds of arrays generated by scientific big data. For example, meteorology might maintain four-dimensional data sets covering location, altitude and time, and those kinds of arrays are held and processed in other environments, even if the data stores are then referenced in an SQL database.

Similarly, data collected by big sensor networks can easily become multi-dimensional – and even if the volume data isn't out of this world, the multi-dimensional nature of data sets puts them beyond SQL.

A separate effort, called Rasdaman (a scalable multi-dimensional array analytics server) has been working for some time to apply an SQL-like query language to array databases. Rasdaman's backer, Peter Baumann of Jacobs University Bremen in Germany, put forward the proposal now adopted by the ISO.

Rasdaman, GIM says, has showed impressive results: “In a recent technology demonstration, more than 1,000 computers collaborated in a cloud to jointly compute the result of a single database query. This ‘distributed query processing’ means a massive speed increase, and research challenges on multi-Petabyte data cubes can be answered that were previously unsolvable,” the outlet writes.

Rasdaman has also shown good adoption in the open source GIS world, being adopted by the ubiquitous GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) as a library component, and with MapServer integration in beta. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.