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Azure DocumentDB vs Azure SQL

Posted on 2014-10-08
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Last Modified: 2015-05-11
There is an old saying - "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail".   I am starting a new project and i don't want to make that mistake.   I have abundant experience building SQL based systems and have grown comfortable with SQL Server specifically.  But this project will be hosted in Azure.   I was planning to use Azure SQL to store the data.  I understand that i may be looking at it myopically, but the data seems (to me) to fit naturally into TABLES.   If this were 5 years ago, i would not even have this internal debate.  But then i looked at DocumentDB.

DocumentDB programming model seems nice and clean (C# serialization/deserialization) and that makes my code nice and i start to drool.    I felt myself being lured in by the bright shiny new thing.  If this (NoSQL) is the future (and it may be), i don't want to be starting a new project with my grand-dad's database ;-)

First and foremost, this new project is a new business venture for my company.  If successful, it will be around for 10 years or more.    My data requirements are not HUGE.  I don't need petabytes.  The AzureSQL limits seem to be acceptable to me.  DocumentDB is appealing but new and missing many things i "MAY" need.  Sure, they may come along over time, but that is a gamble.  But the siren song of NoSQL is pulling me in and i need a sanity check.

Please provide me your thoughts on this question (Sobering slaps across the face accepted).
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Question by:RXGeorge
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by:Peter Hutchison
Peter Hutchison earned 250 total points
ID: 40368416
I am not familiar with DocumentDB or NoSql.
But say you left the company, is there anyone who could easily take over the project and maintain it, compared to someone with just SQL experience?
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pcelba earned 250 total points
ID: 40368484
You have to decide what is your need and intention. The venture for next 10+ years is suitable for both solutions.

Your concerns are similar to mine.

SQL Server is here for long time so it means the proof of feasibility and reliability. It supports everything you need incl. BLOB data storage and fulltext indexes.

DocumentDB is something new and neither you nor Microsoft knows about its future. To vote for DocumentDB now shows just the fact you like to implement new things or you have some vision. NoSQL is a new trend and next 10 years will show if your decision was right or not... Microsoft can stop DocumentDB development at any point as they did for other products in the past. SQL will be here for a long time.

I would wait with DocumentDB but that's my nature. I am using on-line services just for backup purposes.
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by:RXGeorge
ID: 40370735
The kid in me wants to go DocumentDB - it;d be fun.  The grown-up side, however, fears that even with ongoing Microsoft support and maintainance - i will be isolated.  Everytime i want to run a report or use some other ad-hoc tool, It will not be supported on DocumentDb and would have been on Azure SQL.
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by:pcelba
ID: 40370764
OTOH, this is a question of the backend. The frontend may be designed to support more different backends and the effort to switch from one to another should not mean big amount of work then...
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