The furor over Michael Stonebraker’s criticism of Facebook’s scaling of its MySQL database we covered last Thursday has continued to keep that post at the top of our viewer stats and generate comments on the post itself and on Twitter. Friday, Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels weighed in with a tweet of his own that seemed to accuse Stonebraker of hubris.
scaling data systems in real life has humbled me. I would not dare criticize an architecture that the holds social graphs of 750M and works
— Werner Vogels (@Werner) July 8, 2011
Vogels isn’t alone. Other tweets and even blog posts from folks in the industry have accused Stonebraker of throwing Facebook under the bus in order to sell his VoltDB software, such as this one from networking guru and CEO of Boundry Ben Black:
Stonebraker, who doesn't work at Facebook or have 750M users, insists they have a scaling problem for which he is selling the solution.
— RasbenjiPi (@b6n) July 7, 2011
The comments in the post range from those that shed more details on how Facebook uses its database layer to those that show a fairly sophisticated understanding of the tradeoffs of using an existing database technology versus investing in putting a production system on a new and possibly untested new system. However, most of all it illustrates how scaling data has become not just a hot-button issue — but one so complex that it’s difficult to reduce it to cute soundbites like NoSQL or NewSQL. There also seems to be a fundamental schism between those who want the most elegant and appropriate solution and those who want something that works, which they will tweak it as needed. And for technologists, that debate is as old as computers themselves.