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on June 24, 2012
Usually when I read technical books I feel one of the following:
A. Puzzled that such a book was made since doing a google search is far faster and easier.
B. Recognize that while the book likely makes some great points, the writing only is understandable if you already deeply understand the subject.
C. This must be one of those "guide for idiots" books since reading the book only shows some simple basics you would have figured if you just sat down and used the thing for 5 minutes.
But every once in awhile there is a book that is easy to read, doesn't treat me like an idiot, and actually explains the why and just not the what of the subject matter. When I come across such books, I carry them around, tell friends about them, and frequently re-read the relevant parts when I am coding up something that makes use of the subject matter. This is one of those books.
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on October 2, 2012
There's a lot of good information in here and my eyes have really been opened to the world of NoSQL database solutions and how they compare to the RDBMS world with which I'm much more familiar. The chapters are laid out in a way to show off a lot of the great features, putting you on your feet fast and enabling you to see some of the strengths and weaknesses of the database solutions.

I have two gripes with the book, however. One is that at times, the authors seem to talk more about supporting technologies than the databases themselves. It's nice to see how you can use a SAX-based XML parser with some programming language to load data into the database, but other than the interface to the database itself, it's not wholly relevant to the core topic at hand.

My second gripe is that sometimes the examples feel overly contrived. In the chapter on Riak, for instance there's a comparison of getting counts by style from the database. The method shown for the RDBMS style is something that even if you had only read the chapter on PostgreSQL, you'd know was a terrible way for getting the information. There are a couple of other examples in the book where I found myself saying either, "well, yeah, but nobody in their right mind would actually do it that way," or "OK, that's nice, but how would this work for a real problem?" All that being said, this problem is endemic to introductory material in general and so, while frustrated that it is continued in this book, I don't think it detracts from the book anymore than it detracts from any other introductory reading.
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on April 11, 2016
This is the third seven in seven series I read, and I found this one to be the best so far. It is a guidebook of different databases and how they differ. I felt the selection was excellent as each database covered has different features that made it unique.

The authors know the correct resources to link to and the proper way to explain the databases. For example, they show you where you can find the original Google paper about MapReduce, and the original Amazon paper about DynamoDB. I found these small details and side notes to be very useful.

Starting with the introduction, I found the explainations to be clear and detailed. The chapters and days they are divided into was the right length. Properties of databases such as ACID and CAP theorem were covered in depth. MapReduce was explained in terms a few different database architectures.

The authors did a lot of research and know the material well. Additionally, it has been four years since the release of this book and you can see that their choice of database was excellent, as Mongo, Redis, and PostgreSQL are still heavily used.
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VINE VOICEon May 25, 2013
Over the past couple years, I have read considerably about non-traditional database products, whether they be categorized as NoSQL or NewSQL, especially the Hadoop ecosystem (see my reviews on "HBase: The Definitive Guide" and "Hadoop in Action"), but I only just recently completed a reading of this book after pre-ordering it over a year ago. I share the sentiment of other reviewers to some extent, in the sense that even though the authors call the content that they offer here a "crash course workshop" written for "experienced developers", the discussions of each database product vary in terms of the detail and pace at which they are presented. That said, this book does offer a look at the modern database landscape from the perspective of a developer, and presents material on each database product to an extent which prompts the reader to look to other resources for additional detail, a practice to which I have grown accustomed as a consultant, so this aspect of the book is not a negative thing in itself, just something of which readers need to be aware in the case they are not accustomed to this style of presentation.

By this point, there are enough reviewers who have discussed the fact that Redmond and Wilson explore seven open source database products in this book: Redis, Neo4J, CouchDB, MongoDB, HBase, PostgreSQL, and Riak. Since there are literally hundreds of open source database products, it helps to understand the fact that one of the reasons these seven database products was chosen was because they span several genres of database that were designed to solve problems presented by real use cases. PostgreSQL is the one relational database discussed. Riak and Redis are key-value stores, HBase is a column-oriented database, MongoDB and CouchDB are document-oriented databases, and Neo4J is a graph database. Since I have already gained considerable exposure to the Hadoop ecosystem, I concentrated on the six chapters not covering HBase, and in reading the HBase material I can tell you that it really just scratches the service of the product, so this served as a personal reminder of what the authors state multiple times throughout what they have to share here: this is introductory material.

Coverage of each database product follows a similar pattern over hypothetical three-day periods of time. If you are interested in reading this book, do not be intimidated by how the material is laid out according to the calendar. Each set of three days is really just three steps of progression, diving deeper with each step. The only exception to this pattern is coverage of Redis, the last database product covered. While technically the third step of the Redis discussion involves Redis, what it really provides is introductory material on polygot persistence, which involves database products working together. In the example that the authors present, CouchDB is the system of record, Neo4J handles data relationships, and Redis helps with data population and caching. The authors even present a good sidebar on why use of nonblocking code is such an important method when dealing with databases. The wrap-up that follows each three-day time period outlines the the strengths and weaknesses of each database product, and a wrap-up chapter at the end of the book outlines the strengths and weakness of each database genre, followed by an appendix that provides informational tables that compares each of the database products from several different angles.

While HBase is still the database product that attracts the data architecture aspects of my consulting career the most, of the seven database products covered PostgreSQL is the one that I have actually started using, due to practical reasons, but I am also increasingly interested in Neo4J, a graph database product providing full ACID compliant transactions to which I was first exposed at SpringOne a couple years ago. It is interesting that although this book was reasonably targeted at an audience consisting of "experienced developers", it is not a stretch to say that many developers naively consider data availability a given on their project assignments, sometimes because they do not want to deal with the data, and sometimes because they think the data is the easy part. Books like this which help bridge the gulf that often exists between those who seem to think that Java or some other language is all that matters in the enterprise, and those who consider the viability of only one database product, serve a great need, and do not fall into the set of O'Reilly texts that have strayed off course in recent years.
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on January 5, 2013
If you already know and/or are familiar with database technologies and want to venture into the new world of big data databases, this is a good book for you. Do not expect a whole lot of beginner material. If you do not know java and scripting languages this book might not be as useful to you. The book gives you enough to make you dangerous. Do not expect to be an expert after following the examples in the book. You will need a lot of other supporting examples to work on before you feel real comfortable with these databases. Having said that, the book does an excellent job in providing a week long framework for working with each system. The examples are well thought of and are organized in a productive way. In some cases, you may need to spend more than a week on a given database and in other cases, you may finish the examples in less than a week. It all depends on your previous knowledge of the system you are working with. All around, a book well worth the money you spend on.
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on September 1, 2014
I work in the column and row database world. It is obvious that we need to embrace the NoSQL movement, although it does make hierarchical DB practitioners' heads explode (or at least mine). This book is great! It walks you through eight databases, starting the familiar SQL type, and explains simply what each database approach brings to the table (with plentiful URLs pointing to excellent in-depth treatment of esoteric topics). It finishes with Mongo, which my company is starting to implement in a big way. Really helped me a lot. Kudos to the author(s)!
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on July 22, 2014
The book is a really good primer to different kinds of contemporary database "philosophies". All the databases are well known and the book clearly explains the major differences not just in terms of technology but, most importantly, in the mindsets and the problems they want to tackle. The approach is hands-on and the tasks presented show nicely what each database is good for, especially in the last section which is a sort of study on how different databases can effectively play together. If you want to get out of the "I-have-a-hammer-so-everything-is-a-nail" syndrome with databases, this book is the perfect start.
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on December 31, 2014
You will need to spend a lot of time going through this book. I already knew a great deal about most of the DBs in the book and it still took me a couple of weeks to go through it thoroughly. It you are actually learning these technologies for the fist time you will need all of the seven weeks in the title. You wont be an expert at the end but you will be equally dangerous in all 7 technologies and more importantly you will have a good idea of what problems are going to be most effectively solved by which technologies. I am a big fan of books like this one.
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on September 22, 2012
NoSQL seems to be all the rage recently. I kind of knew what people where talking about but I never fully wrapped my head around it. This book was FANTASTIC in teaching me the basics of how these new systems CRUD data and showed me how I could creatively get around some of the limitations inherent in sequel databases.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. It was a great, fun easy read. The next use case I am trying to solve is for a user to navigate system of multiple choice questions that route to other questions pending the answer (Neo4j seems great for this), and to record the user's answers (MongoDB seems apt for that). This book not only taught me basic NoSQL, but has got me weirdly amped to get hacking.
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on January 19, 2013
Instead of getting caught up with the details of each database, this book provides insight into how the database works. It is great for finding the best database to use with a certain project. Definitely learned a good overview of the databases, but I will need to get a database-specific book to learn more of the details.
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