My Slides from the MarkLogic Government Summit: “Relationertia”

Below please find an embedded copy of the slides I presented a few weeks back at the MarkLogic Government Summit at the Ritz-Carlton in Tyson’s Corner.

I had three fun quotes/concepts from this session.

First, I created a new word to describe all the reasons organizations use relational databases to try and solve problems for which they were never designed and at which they are suboptimal:  relationertia.  You know those reasons:

  • It’s safe
  • We have it already
  • It’s what we know
  • It’s free at the project level (if expensive at the agency one)

The fact is relational databases are about 40 years old and were never designed to solve some of the problems that government agencies are throwing at them.  To drive home the age point, I made a list of “other things” that happened in 1970, the year that Codd’s seminal paper was published.

  • Janis Joplin died
  • The Beatles broke up, after releasing Let It Be
  • The first 747 entered service
  • The first episode of All My Children aired

It was a long time ago.  (And that was the second fun thing.)

The third fun thing was to dust off one of my favorite old saws:  if your only tool’s a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.  Or, as I more colorfully saw on Twitter today:  if your only tool’s a chainsaw, then every problem looks like a Zombie.

Applying this idea to relational databases, we come up with:

If your only data modeling element’s a table, then every problem looks like a column.

The slides are embedded below.

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