How the World Will Change Databases
The big question is if we're ready for the new wave of applications.One of the most fascinating lectures Ive attended lately was "How Databases Changed the World," put on by the Computer History Museum. The event last week featured a panel discussion by the biggies in the database business, including Chris Date, Michael Stonebraker (formerly of Illustra and Informix, among others), Ken Jacobs (Oracle), Bob Epstein (formerly of Sybase) and Pat Sellinger (IBM). Its beside the point that no one really discussed how databases changed the world. They discussed how the database world changed when it moved from the Cullinet hierarchical system to the relational systems in use today. The relational model was one of the most substantial computing changes ever to occur. It not only led to the development of analytics, data mining and packaged applications, but also to the separation of data from those applications, which, in turn, created the fundamental model of how we compute today.
It took 15 years from the time E.F. Codd and Date described the relational model before databases based on the technology became mainstream. Since that time, everyone has been looking for new models. Object databases, for example, were thought to be the next shift in computing in the early 1990s. XML data stores are now thought to be included in the next wave of database technology.