Designing A Non-Relational Database Engine


April 14th, 2024

1 hr 16 mins 1 sec

Your Host

About this Episode


Databases come in a variety of formats for different use cases. The default association with the term "database" is relational engines, but non-relational engines are also used quite widely. In this episode Oren Eini, CEO and creator of RavenDB, explores the nuances of relational vs. non-relational engines, and the strategies for designing a non-relational database.


  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I'm interviewing Oren Eini about the work of designing and building a NoSQL database engine


  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you describe what constitutes a NoSQL database?
    • How have the requirements and applications of NoSQL engines changed since they first became popular ~15 years ago?
  • What are the factors that convince teams to use a NoSQL vs. SQL database?
    • NoSQL is a generalized term that encompasses a number of different data models. How does the underlying representation (e.g. document, K/V, graph) change that calculus?
  • How have the evolution in data formats (e.g. N-dimensional vectors, point clouds, etc.) changed the landscape for NoSQL engines?
  • When designing and building a database, what are the initial set of questions that need to be answered?
    • How many "core capabilities" can you reasonably design around before they conflict with each other?
  • How have you approached the evolution of RavenDB as you add new capabilities and mature the project?
    • What are some of the early decisions that had to be unwound to enable new capabilities?
  • If you were to start from scratch today, what database would you build?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen RavenDB/NoSQL databases used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on RavenDB?
  • When is a NoSQL database/RavenDB the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of RavenDB?

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Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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