Elisabeth Cripps

Major: BBA MIS
Graduation: January 2021


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NoSQL databases are another tool that can be used to store and retrieve data. Larger companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon collect high volumes of semi-structured or unstructured data. Unlike SQL databases, NoSQL databases are non-relational, and are able to work with semi-structured and unstructured data. As a result, NoSQL databases are highly scalable. As a trade-off, NoSQL databases lack ACID, or atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability. Overall, these databases focus on high performance and cheap scalability, but sacrifice reliability and consistency.

In MIS 2502, we learned about utilizing schemas and understanding how to retrieve information from a SQL database. Next, we learned about the differences between structured and unstructured data models. However, we did not learn about databases that are designed to handle storage, retrieval, and analysis of semi-structured or unstructured data, which is important since most data is unstructured. NoSQL databases may be viable solutions to business problems that we may encounter in the future, or we may work for a company that is already utilizing a NoSQL database.

Amazon has a NoSQL database service called DynamoDB. In 2015, AirBnB’s search personalization data grew too large for the company. The company restructured their platform so that other features would be scalable in the future, using a data-store called Nebula. Dynamo allowed Nebula to “very quickly build a robust system.” The emphasis is on “robust.” AirBnB needed a solution and system that could evolve and change with their projected growth, so it would be easy to scale-up other features when necessary. Overall, Amazon’s NoSQL database provided AirBnB with a viable solution not just for one problem, but with problems that were going to arise in the future.



Altarade, M. (2018, December 8). The Definitive Guide to NoSQL Databases. Retrieved April 23, 19, from https://ils.unc.edu/courses/2018_fall/inls523_004/nosql.pdf

He, C., Banerjee, S., Tao, T., & Puttaswamy, K. (2016, December 15). Nebula as a Storage Platform to Build Airbnb’s Search Backends. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from https://medium.com/airbnb-engineering/nebula-as-a-storage-platform-to-build-airbnbs-search-backends-ecc577b05f06

Zheng, Y., & Unal, S. (2017, April 23). Distributed Databases: SQL vs NoSQL. Retrieved April 23, 2019, from http://www.cs.rochester.edu/courses/261/spring2017/termpaper/09/Unal_Yuchen_Paper.pdf

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