10 tips for integrating NoSQL databases in your business

NoSQL databases provide the agility, scalability, performance and availability to support many applications today, but implementing them is not always easy. Here are 10 tips for integrating NoSQL systems in your organization.

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"The status quo, the inherent desire to do things the way they've always been done — if you don't change any of your processes, that's going to slow things down," Pasqua says.

Understanding your use case and the disruptive changes brought about by the new technology will allow you to mold your processes to take advantage of new capabilities. Key architects and technical leads can help you shape those processes and get their organizations on board.

7. Determine whether you have the right skills

It's critical to have the skills to modify application design procedures and system application architecture to accommodate NoSQL, Pasqua says.

"Having the right skills is critical," he says. "It's not that NoSQL is particularly complicated. In fact, it's typically simpler but it's different. Many people have been in the database business for 30 years and the only things they've ever used is relational. They don't have any trouble learning NoSQL, but you really have to take the time."

Training is a crucial part of the process. Pasqua notes that MarkLogic offers up all of its training for free, whether or not you're a customer.

8. Gauge understanding of the NoSQL DBMS and query languages

Make sure to gauge your organization's understanding of NoSQL and how it's used.

"The folks you have already are smart database people," Pasqua says. "They won't have any trouble understanding NoSQL. It's not an insurmountable problem from a technical approach. It's more of a cultural thing."

9. Establish a sense of urgency

Help all stakeholders understand the need for your NoSQL implementation and what sort of return they can expect.

If you're turning to NoSQL, chances are someone in your organization is already up against a deadline and can't see the way forward.

"It's usually someone who has a problem — big data, data integration — they've already beat their heads against the wall trying to solve it with their existing tools and they've burned a lot of time doing that," Pasqua says. "They've already got time pressure on their heads because they've spent a lot of time going down a blind alley. The challenge we see is bringing that sense of urgency across to stakeholders."

It may be that the line of business has some business-oriented or regulatory-oriented deadline looming over their heads, Pasqua says. You've got to make sure that your technical people and the people in charge of procurement have the right sense of urgency to meet that deadline.

"Start small, get started quickly and ramp up," he says. "Get it across to all the stakeholders."

10. Lean on those with experience, including peers and consultants

Experience makes all the difference, Pasqua says.

"Because technologies like MarkLogic really are disruptive, it's easy to fall into some of traps," Pasqua says. "Being able to go out and really network with and work with others who have used and profited from using these types of new technologies is super important. If somebody is using MarkLogic, they're using it to run the bank or as part of their training system. Healthcare.gov is using it to run the exchange. Really one of the best things you can do is go out and talk to someone who's done it. Talk to someone on the technology side, the cultural side and the process side. Figure out how you can make this work in your organization to your best advantage."

If you do bring in third-party consultants, Pasqua says seek out professional services that are structured to bring in architects and advisors that will get your people off on the right footing. That's much more self-sustaining than professional services that come in and live with you forever, he says.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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