Martin Fowler has a great blog post about the future of databases in DatabaseThaw.
but perhaps a more important thaw that might be beginning – the longer and deeper freeze in thinking about databases



As well as this talk, there was a whole track on alternative databases hosted by Kresten Krab Thorup. One of the additional tools mentioned there was Neo4J – a graph (network) database tool that earned some rare praise from Jim Webber.

Fowler’s article concludes that databases need to move closer to applications, and not be the base of integration any more.
If you integrate through HTTP it no longer matters how an application stores its own data, which in turn means an application can choose a data model that makes sense for its own needs.



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