JSON Leads To New Wave Of 1NF Failures

Jovan Popovic talks about storing JSON in SQL Server:

Instead of single JSON object you can organize your data in this “collection”. If you do not want to explicitly check structure of each JSON column, you don’t need to add JSON check constraint on every column (in this example I have added CHECK constraint only on EmailAddresses column).

If you compare this structure to the standard NoSQL collection, you might notice that you will have faster access to strongly typed data (FirstName and LastName). Therefore, this solution is good choice for hybrid models where you can identify some information that are repeated across all objects, and other variable information can be stored as JSON. This way, you can combine flexibility and performance.

Okay, we’ve hit my first major problem with JSON support:  rampant violation of first normal form.  You can create check constraints on JSON code, and that’s pretty snazzy I guess, but I know a better way to store relational data in a relational database system.  JSON support is great when you ask SQL Server to be a holder of text blobs, but this is begging for bad design decisions.

The Logical Data Warehouse

Robert Sheldon is looking beyond the Enterprise Data Warehouse:

Organizations looking to take control of this onslaught of information are turning to other solutions to meet their data needs, either in addition to or instead of the traditional EDW. Quite often this means turning to a logical architecture that abstracts the inherent complexities of the big data universe. Such an approach embraces mixed environments through the use of distributed processing, data virtualization, metadata management, and other technologies that help ease the pain of accessing and federating data.

Dubbed the logical data warehouse (LDW), this virtual approach to a BI analytics infrastructure originated with Mark Beyer, when participating in Gartner’s Big Data, Extreme Information and Information Capabilities Framework research in 2011. According to his blog post “ Mark Beyer, Father of the Logical Data Warehouse, Guest Post ,” Beyer believes that the way to approach analytical data is to focus on the logic of the information, rather than the mechanics:

This feels like something that first-movers are starting to adopt, but won’t be mainstream for another 6-8 years.  That should give the idea some time to mature as we see the first round of successes and (more importantly) failures.

Data Versus Domain Design

Vladimir Khorikov talks domain-centric versus data-centric design:

With the domain-centric approach, on the other hand, programmers view the domain model as the most important part of the software project. It is usually represented in the application code, using an OO or functional language. Data (as well as other notions such as UI) is considered to be secondary in this case:

Each of the approaches brings its own pros and cons, as well as some differences in the way developers address common design challenges. Let’s elaborate on that.

Khorikov is domain-centric, whereas I am data-centric.  My justification is as follows:  20 years from now, the most likely scenario is that your application has been re-written three or four times, whereas my database is still chugging along.  Therefore, we should design in ways which make it easier to maintain correct data.

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May 2017
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