Maybe SQL is the SQL of NoSQL

Derrick Harris has written the last couple of days a great deal on SQL front ends for MapReduce platforms.  This is a particularly meaty post.

What does it all mean?  That SQL support is a must-have for a self-respecting MR implementation, and everyone is rushing to provide it.

I’ve posted here, here, and here about the function that SQL plays in the legacy data fabric — a fence separating data management from data analysis, for example — and wondering out loud what will take its place in a NoSQL or PostSQL world.

This motion suggests that SQL may have some life in it yet.  Despite its RDBMS-ism, it is a rich data-analysis language, and it is the canvas upon which millions of data-analysis paintings have been painted.  It’s asking a lot to just throw that away and go back to writing software in what are really still 3GLs to get at data.

In any case, it’s an admission that the data fabric will be more PostSQL (including and building upon SQL) rather than NoSQL in the future.  And suggests that we need an expressive model of PostSQL data before we’ll have an expressive interface language for it.

Your thoughts?

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The (Increasingly Worthless) Network Effect

The other day I did what I do with increasing frequency: I wanted to meet an exec (call him “Exec A”) at a startup company (call it “Company X”) where Valhalla might invest, so I looked in LinkedIn to see who was connected with them.

An old friend from Palo Alto days was indeed one degree of separation from Exec A, but when I contacted my friend — and, by the way, it was great to catch up with him on all kinds of things — he said, “I hardly know A and I know nothing about X”.  He had LinkedIn with A because they had worked together once, but it was not a meaningful connection.

There are pressures to make meaningless connections: pressures on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter.  And a kind of Gresham’s Law takes over: the bad links drive out the good.

I’ve watched it happen with UseNet, with email, with the Web, with portals, with Quora, with the social sites cited above.

So maybe there isn’t an absolute “network effect”.  Maybe above a certain size the debasement of links takes over and the value of network declines.

I’m certain that smarter folks than I have worked this problem.  I’d welcome any links to discussions.

But, please, only the good links.

Is JSONiq the SQL of NoSQL?

In response to my post on “What will be the SQL of NoSQL”  William Candillon of 28msec wrote:

Our take is JSONiq, an extension of XQuery for JSON: http://jsoniq.org.

First I’d heard about JSONiq, and, truth be told, I didn’t know a heck of a lot about JSON except the name.  Or about XQuery for that matter.

(One drawback of crossing over to the VC side is I fall inexorably behind on tech, despite my wishes and hopes.)

So I followed the link, looked at some of the code examples, and looked at 28msec.

I’m just digging into this, so would welcome any further pointers from the community.  SQL was not just a query language, but a frontier between the data layer and the rest of the app.  How does JSONiq get to that status?

Your thoughts?

Beginning of the End for the CIO?

As cloud computing really starts to take hold, some features of the landscape are becoming clearer. At least they seem clearer to me.

First, the disruption happens disruptively:

  • Through consumers and smaller business customers, rather than through the biggest enterprises.
  • Through applications converting to SaaS delivery and non-critical, experimental, or bursty infrastructure rather than mission-critical infrastructure.
  • Through “consumerization of IT”, where demand for iPads and cool apps drives the need for new delivery models

Second, the disruption will move upward to larger organizations, first through private clouds, then hybrid clouds, and then full-dress clouds.  (Of course, larger organizations use SaaS applications and suffice iPads and cool apps today, so they need some kind of cloud solutions today.)

Third, however, is interesting: if IT moves out of the enterprise and into the cloud, why do you need an IT organization over time… and why do you need a CIO?

The CIO’s job is to make sure that the house IT plant supports the mission of the organization.  Already other functions are trying to make IT decisions without the CIO: implementing Salesforce, constructing mobile apps, buying kit for websites.  It stands to reason that the CIO’s job loses power over time.

CIOs have barely been able to pry themselves free from reporting to CFOs.  Will they report to CMOs next?

My first #MakerFaire was Swell

I went up to the World Maker Faire in New York this past weekend, and had a great time despite iffy weather (relevant because the bulk of the event was outdoors).  The lockpicking course from @Toool alone was worth the price of admission, but I also bent some plexiglass with the Institute for Exploratory Research, a hacker space in NJ and had some paella from huge woks that @NickPinkston told me was “a MakerFaire tradition”. 

I’ve begun to think of the Maker Movement as having three threads, each of which was present to some extent at the Faire:

  1. Kids.  America gives lip service to the wonder of children, but doesn’t always deliver.  Kids were first at Maker Faire.  Exhibits were geared to them, people were giving way to them, and they were clearly front and center in the Maker Movement.
  2. Scruffy Hacker-ness.  This of course gives a lot of personality to the Maker Movement.  The people who were running the lockpicking event, for example, obviously and repeatedly asked participants not to the break the law.  But the subtext was, “if there’s a lock you want to open you should be able to do so.”  I bought a t-shirt that said, “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it.”
  3. Rennaisance Fair for American Manufacturing.  This is the meme I’m trying to invest in, and you had to poke around to find traces of it at the Faire, but it was there.  Next-gen manufacturing companies like AutoDesk and Valhalla’s portfolio company GeoMagic were present and sponsoring and clearly hedging their bets with small stakes in the success of the Maker Movement.  There will be more.