The future is noded

The future is noded.

NOsql, Dynamic, Event driven, Distributed.

A tipping point has been reached. The JVM is past its peak. Dynamic languages with a low cost of change and greater expressive power are in the ascendance. Scaling through multithreading has been eclipsed by non-blocking single-threaded, multi-process architectures. Centralised databases are being out-evolved by distributed, eventually-consistent, semi-structured storage. Commodity hardware and designing failure-tolerance into the fabric of the system are winning out over specialised, high-cost solutions.

I’m seeing a lot of innovation in this area. It feels to me a lot like the ajax explosion. Before the term was coined, there were a lot of us ‘doing ajax’ without realising what it was we’d got our hands on, or just how amazing it could be. The XMLHttpRequest object was relegated to the back of the O’Reilly Javascript book and the most comprehensive documentation was a single page on Apple’s website. Once Jesse James Garett gave it a name, ajax was suddenly everywhere.

Thus: noded. A noded system is, generally: built on commodity hardware, horizontally scalable, fault-tolerant, (usually) in a dynamic language and operates at a scale far larger than any traditional solution.

So who has a noded architecture? Among others, Google (Bigtable, MapReduce etc…), Facebook (Cassandra), Twitter (FlockDb, Gizzard), Amazon (Dynamo). You may have heard of them.

A number of impressive open-source projects have been released by these organisations and others, and more have been inspired by them: Hadoop, Riak, MongoDB, CouchDB to name a few.

The platform that has me most exited at the moment is node. Javascript is a hugely expressive language (even more so with tools such as CoffeeScript) and node is rapidly accumulating an impressive collection of libraries that make building highly efficient, ultra-scalable applications incredibly easy. It’s not a coincidence that I like the term noded. I’d also settle for ‘nodular’ but Charles claimed that one in 2003.