An In-Depth Look at Modern Database Systems

An In-Depth Look at Modern Database Systems by C. Mohan.


This tutorial is targeted at a broad set of database systems and applications people. It is intended to let the attendees better appreciate what is really behind the covers of many of the modern database systems (e.g., NoSQL and NewSQL systems), going beyond the hype associated with these open source, commercial and research systems. The capabilities and limitations of such systems will be addressed. Modern extensions to decades old relational DBMSs will also be described. Some application case studies will also be presented.

This is a revised version of a tutorial presented first at the 39th International Conference on Very Large Databases (VLDB2013) in Riva del Garda, Italy in August 2013. This is also a follow up to my EDBT2013 keynote talk “History Repeats Itself: Sensible and NonsenSQL Aspects of the NoSQL Hoopla” (see the paper at

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The one thing I have not found for this tutorial is a video!

While highly enjoyable (from my perspective), detailed analysis of the database platforms and the ideas they missed or incorporated would be even more valuable.

It is one thing to say generally that an idea was missed and quite another to obtain agreement on that point.

A series of workshops documenting the intellectual history of databases would go a long way to hastening progress, as opposed to proliferation of wheels.

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