Abstract

The emergence of applications that manage very large volumes of semi-structured data is driving the popularity of document databases such as MongoDB. One of the main appeals of document databases is schema flexibility as this allows the schema to be biased towards a particular set of applications. This approach is favoured by many developers who regard document databases to be essentially schema-less and focus on performance and scalability issues rather than ensuring that the schema can be gracefully evolved as application requirements change. There is evidence that many developers use ad-hoc methods based on heuristics rather than well-established design principles, potentially creating designs that cause data modification anomalies that can lead to the loss of data consistency. In this paper we argue that the design of document databases is not an entirely new problem and that existing object-relational database design methods can be adapted for the design of document databases. We describe a design approach that is an adaptation of object-relational design and serves as a framework for making informed decisions about alternative design strategies for document databases.

Recommended Citation

Feuerlicht, G., Beranek, M., & Kovar, V. (2021). Design of Document Databases: What can we Learn from Object-Relational Databases?. In E. Insfran, F. González, S. Abrahão, M. Fernández, C. Barry, H. Linger, M. Lang, & C. Schneider (Eds.), Information Systems Development: Crossing Boundaries between Development and Operations (DevOps) in Information Systems (ISD2021 Proceedings). Valencia, Spain: Universitat Politècnica de València.

COinS
 

Design of Document Databases: What can we Learn from Object-Relational Databases?

The emergence of applications that manage very large volumes of semi-structured data is driving the popularity of document databases such as MongoDB. One of the main appeals of document databases is schema flexibility as this allows the schema to be biased towards a particular set of applications. This approach is favoured by many developers who regard document databases to be essentially schema-less and focus on performance and scalability issues rather than ensuring that the schema can be gracefully evolved as application requirements change. There is evidence that many developers use ad-hoc methods based on heuristics rather than well-established design principles, potentially creating designs that cause data modification anomalies that can lead to the loss of data consistency. In this paper we argue that the design of document databases is not an entirely new problem and that existing object-relational database design methods can be adapted for the design of document databases. We describe a design approach that is an adaptation of object-relational design and serves as a framework for making informed decisions about alternative design strategies for document databases.