NoSQL vs. the world

About a year ago, Mike Dirolf drew an enormous circle covering a sheet of paper. “Here are the people who use databases,” he said, “and here are the people who have even heard of NoSQL,” and he drew a circle this big: ° .

I think that interest has grown since then. By this time, the number of people that know about NoSQL is at least this big: o .

For evidence, let’s take a look at what people are searching for. First, here’s a Google Insights chart for a bunch of popular NoSQL solutions:

MongoDB vs. Cassandra vs. CouchDB vs. Redis vs. Riak (source)

Woohoo! MongoDB seems to be leading the charge, so far. But wait, now let’s compare MongoDB (the top line above) to some other databases:

MongoDB vs. Sybase vs. PostgreSQL vs. Firebird vs. Sqlite (source)

Okay, well, we’re behind everyone, but it’s not too bad. You start to see some patterns with the relational databases that you don’t yet so much with the NoSQL databases: people are using relational databases a lot more at work (during the week) than for fun (on the weekends). In fact, MongoDB is occasionally inching above Sybase on the weekends!

How about MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle?

MongoDB vs. MySQL vs. SQL Server vs. Oracle (source)

Sigh. Back to work, people. We have a ways to go.

8 thoughts on “NoSQL vs. the world

  1. If you want to find out the keyword combination for Microsoft Sql Server I’d suggest asking on #sqlhelp on twitter. I do agree it is kinda annoying that its hard to get a clear idea since people just call it SQL Server.

    BTW, as a postgres fan I find it interesting you grouped postgres with the “weird” databases and not with the the mainstream ones in the second graph, especially seeing how it seems to outshine all of them. Its like postgres is the twenty something single nephew you made sit at the kiddie table on thanksgiving.


    1. Haha, I wasn’t trying to group Postgres with the “weird” databases, it’s just not as ridiculously popular as MySQL and Oracle (see

      And you found the magic keyword I wasn’t using thank you! Here’s the last graph with SQL Server, too:


    1. Yeah, unfortunately Google Insights only lets you compare five at a time, so I chose the five I thought that the most people would know. But it’s nice to see Neo4j doing well!


  2. Is it a good measure? or just a measure of what people dont’ know. to find postgres help i go straight to the postgres websites, not google.

    Are most of them using google for help? Do they not know where the manual is? is the manual no good? does the project’s website use google as their search?


    1. This isn’t an exact measure, but I think it’s a good starting point. Max Schireson has more ideas for measuring a project’s success:

      Even if a project has a fantastic manual, what if you want to look up deployment experiences others have had? Or you have an error message you’re looking up? Or you’re looking for an example combining two concepts you read about in the manual? It’s hard for me to believe any programmer would not regularly use Google to research the technology they’re using.


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