Percona Live featured talk with Álvaro Hernández Tortosa — ToroDB: Supercharging your RDBMS with MongoDB super powers

Percona Live featured talkWelcome to the last Percona Live featured talk with Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2016 speakers! In this series of blogs, we’ll highlight some of the speakers that will be at this year’s conference, as well as discuss the technologies and outlooks of the speakers themselves. Make sure to read to the end to get a special Percona Live registration bonus!

It’s been great getting to know some of the speakers, and learning about their talks. Everyone highlighted in this blog series can be found at Percona Live in Santa Clara next week (April 18-21). See you there!

In this Percona Live featured talk, we’ll meet Álvaro Hernández Tortosa, CTO of 8Kdata. His talk will be on ToroDB: Supercharging your RDBMS with MongoDB super powersToroDB is an open source project that turns your RDBMS into a MongoDB-compatible server, supporting the MongoDB query API, MongoDB’s replication, and both OLTP and OLAP/DW workloads. I had a chance to speak with Álvaro and learn a bit more about ToroDB:

Percona: Give me a brief history of yourself: how you got into database development, where you work, what you love about it.

Álvaro: I started using databases as a developer around the year 2000. I realized they were exactly what they advertise: a building block to help create applications that require persistence, concurrency, durability and advanced querying capabilities. A magical piece of software that lets you rely on powerful abstractions, and make developers’ lives easier, cheaper and less buggy.

At some point, and after facing some “leaks” over abstractions, I started researching the database space –  almost every direction and every feature. I haven’t stopped doing that.

Percona: Your talk is going to be on “ToroDB: Supercharging your RDBMS with MongoDB super powers.” It seems like you’re not taking sides in the NoSQL vs. MySQL Great Debate! Are there myths about the differences in approaches that you have to constantly correct?

Álvaro: Many! To name a few myths:

  • NoSQL is schema-less. There’s no such thing as a schema-less database. Even unstructured data has a “schema.” It just happens to be “attached” to the data, and this is what allows it to change from document to document. But there is always a schema, and even if it only varies slightly NoSQL repeats that schema in almost every document. I prefer to call this “schema-attached.”
  • SQL is slow, and indeed slower than NoSQL. That’s simply not true, especially when you compare “apples to apples.” Most SQL versus NoSQL benchmarks compare fully durable relational setups with reduced durability NoSQL configurations. Relational can be as fast, or even faster, than NoSQL. It’s just that they have different approaches to speed, reliability and durability.
  • You have to choose between either NoSQL or relational. Well, this is the main theme of the talk, so I’ll leave readers to attend the talk to resolve the myth. 😉

Percona: How does a mixed environment affect application performance? What are the performance advantages of combining the two approaches? How does ToroDB help?

Álvaro: It depends on the operations. Inserts are comparable in speed, sometimes slightly slower. Indexed queries are in the same order of magnitude. Filtered queries are usually significantly faster, since ToroDB automatically classifies (some sort of automatic “normalization”) the documents at insertion time, and data is automatically partitioned. Aggregate queries can be up to orders of magnitude faster, as SQL is terrific at this (compared to NoSQL, which not good). The latter is even more significant when combined with columnar stores and compression.

Percona: What do you see as an issue that we the database community needs to be on top of regarding NoSQL (and ToroDB) development? What keeps you up at night concerning the future of NoSQL (and SQL for that matter)?

Álvaro: ToroDB adds a much-wanted feature to MySQL that MongoDB users have with MongoDB: transactions. Transactions are a really powerful abstraction that significantly simplifies application development, and allows you to create resilient applications. However, cluster-wide transactions are a really challenging problem. I think distributed transactions and a single-system image of the database (as in a snapshot isolation over a cluster) are two of the most challenging and desirable properties of current database systems.

Percona: What are you most looking forward to at Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2016?

Álvaro: Foremost, feedback and interacting with other database colleagues. ToroDB started as a database that only supported PostgreSQL as a backend. We would like to have ToroDB running on MySQL/Percona too, and by listening to MySQL users, figure out how they could benefit from ToroDB. Engaging with architects and performance experts at the conference is invaluable to us.

You can read more about ToroDB at 8kdata’s website:  You can also follow Álvaro on Twitter at @ahachete. Check out what is going at with 8kdata at this link, including their participation in Percona Live!

Want to find out more about Álvaro and ToroDBRegister for Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2016, and see his talk ToroDB: Supercharging your RDBMS with MongoDB super powers. Use the code “FeaturedTalk” and receive $100 off the current registration price!

Percona Live Data Performance Conference 2016 is the premier open source event for the data performance ecosystem. It is the place to be for the open source community as well as businesses that thrive in the MySQL, NoSQL, cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) marketplaces. Attendees include DBAs, sysadmins, developers, architects, CTOs, CEOs, and vendors from around the world.

The Percona Live Data Performance Conference will be April 18-21 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara & The Santa Clara Convention Center.


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