New Uses for NoSQL

We all know that you can use NoSQL databases to store data. And that’s cool, right? After all, NoSQL databases can be massively distributed, are redundant, and really, really fast. But some of the things that make NoSQL database really interesting aren’t just the redundancy, performance, or their ability to use all of those old servers in the closet. Under the covers, NoSQL databases are supported by complex code that makes these features possible – things like distributed file systems.

What’s a Brackup?

Brackup is a backup tool. There are a lot of backup tools on the market, what makes this one special?

First, it’s free.

Second, it’s open source; which means it’s always going to be free.

Third, it can chunk your files – files will be crammed into chunks for faster access and distributed across your backup servers. Did you know that opening a filehandle is one of the single most expensive things you can ever do in programming?

Fourth, it supports different backends.

It Can Backup to Riak

I’ve mentioned Riak a few times around here. Quick summary: Riak is a distributed key-value database.

So?

So, this means that when you take a backup, Brackup is going to split your data into different chunks. These chunks are going to be sent to the backup location. In this case, the backup location is going to be your Riak cluster. As Brackup goes along and does its work, it sends the chunks off to Riak.

Unlike sending your data to an FTP server or Amazon S3, it’s going to get magically replicated in the background by Riak. If you lose a backup server, it’s not a big deal because Riak will have replicated that data across multiple servers in the cluster. Backing up your backups just got a lot easier.

Why Is the NoSQL Part Important?

NoSQL can be used for different things. It’s not a just a potential replacement for an RDBMS (and the beginning of another nerd holy war). Depending on the data store and your purpose, you can use a NoSQL database for a lot of different things – most notably as a distributed file system. This saves time and money since you don’t have to buy a special purpose product, you can use what’s already there.

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