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Database have never really been sexy. They’re important. They’re necessary, but they’ve never really been sexy, except for possibly a brief, shining moment in 2010 and perhaps a bit of 2011, when every reader of Hacker News was sharing his or her experience and every coder on GitHub was playing with a way to access data. The NoSQL movement had hit its stride.
But for those of us on the outside, the conversations about Cassandra, HBase, Hive and MongoDB are hard to parse, maybe even unintelligible. But if you really want to know, there’s a website that can help. The NoSQL Tapes is a collection of videos shot by Tim Anglade in a journey around the world made last summer to discuss what was happening in data storage and access.
The tapes, which have attracted 17,000 unique visitors to the site, are well done and can offer a good overview of technologies from specific (Mike Miller on MapReduce) to general (Ben Black on NoSQL and cloud computing). They are helpful primers on their various topics, but they also capture a moment in tech history when a disparate group of engineers got together to build tools using open source software. The videos showcase the use cases for technology as well as attempt to engage people on the technical merits of each project, as opposed to a bunch of marketing speak.
As Anglade told me in a conversation, these videos represent a time before NoSQL “moved toward the enterprise” and became overrun with marketing. Now an evangelist at Cloudant, which offers a platform for CouchDB, Anglade recalls his summer of running around interviewing technologists fondly. The site launched in January, and so far Anglade has put up about 20 videos and has about 20 more to process and put on the site (although not all of those may make the grade). At about an hour-long, the videos on the site represent a huge time commitment, and the NoSQL community has been the primary audience.
However, there are videos that have proven popular such as Black’s or Jason Hunter and Eric Bloch of MarkLogic on when NoSQL makes senses for large corporations, that just about any business or technologist trying to understand why NoSQL is a big deal could learn from. Check it out, as a resource, and as a snapshot of the moment data became sexy.