Couchbase 4.0 unleashed, aims to be more developer-friendly and move NoSQL needle

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Couchbase has this week announced general availability of Couchbase Server 4.0 at an event in New York, building on the launch of the N1QL query language and which aims to “direct a lot of features and work towards the developer.”

N1QL, which was announced back in June, is one of the key features in 4.0 and combines SQL with the open standard JSON format, running a NoSQL query language on SQL in what was described as an industry-first. For Bob Wiederhold, CEO of Couchbase, it makes perfect sense. “Many companies have large numbers of developers and data analysts that understand SQL well – this significantly lowers the barrier of using NoSQL,” he tells DeveloperTech.

Wiederhold adds: “Having N1QL provides developers using Couchbase with a very familiar approach to getting information into and out of the database, and provides a very powerful approach. We think this is a major, major step forward for the developers using Couchbase, and we think it’s going to very significantly expand the use cases that we can support.”

N1QL is not the only major change for 4.0, however. The use of improved architecture through multi-dimensional scaling is another plus point for developers, being able to deliver high performance indexing and querying.

As Wiederhold explains, the three basic tasks a database performs – reads and writes, building indexes and running queries – are becoming increasingly memory and CPU-intensive. With 4.0, you can separate the three functions and split up nodes.

“If you have a 10 node database cluster, then...before the 4.0 release, you’re running the basic reads and writes and the indexes and the querying all on those same 10 nodes,” he says. “With the 4,0 release, if you want to continue to do that, you can continue to do that, but you run the risk that index-building might slow down your basic reads and writes, or if you’re running a complex query, it might slow down your reads and writes.

“[With 4.0], that allows you to separate each of these three functions, optimise the underlying server hardware for running those functions, and make sure you isolate those functions so they don’t trample on one another.”

Last month, Wiederhold told Computing that his prediction that 2015 ‘would be the year that NoSQL left the labs and test benches and emerged as a mainstream technology’, in the words of the article, would have to be shifted slightly to the right, and the first half of 2016.

The Couchbase CEO tells this correspondent he never used the word ‘mainstream’ – or even knew what it meant in that sense – but argues: “I think customers are just going through the logical progression of seeing a technology, seeing that it can play a very big role in their infrastructure, in this case the digital economy businesses, they use it on their first few applications, they get experience with it, then they take the next step and roll it out more broadly.

He adds: “We think that with 4.0 we’re covering a broad enough set of use cases, that customers can broadly deploy Couchbase, and we see some of the first customers that started to deploy under mission-critical, business-critical applications a couple of years ago [are] now moving to do much broader deployments.”

Customers using Couchbase and who were present at the announcement included General Electric, DIRECTV and Nielsen.

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