I believe that by 2022, the world of data will have divided into three markets:

1. The first segment will be the relational world. This space isn’t going to blow anyone away with its growth numbers, but SQL is still the dominant technology and isn’t going anywhere soon. There are countless applications and use cases for relational, and countless enterprises still rely on them; they will remain the workhorse of enterprise data processing.

2. Next up will be tier one non-relational database in the NoSQL space. Here, we’ll see a handful of winners come to the forefront, and many have already emerged – MongoDB for documents, Redis for key value, Cassandra for column family and my firm’s Neo4j for graph databases, for example. Although each of these leaders have their own native data model, they’ll all offer secondary functionality for other data models as well, leading to some overlap between use cases and so the basis for strong commercial growth.

3. The last element of the database market will be the tier two non-relational databases that focus on niche models. These niches include those models that the leaders haven’t had time to invest in – such as geospatial, time-series databases and the like. Inevitably, due to the smaller use cases and boutique models, these will have less of a commercial impact but can still carve out a valuable segment of the market.

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