Imagine a new content management technology designed to store all of the rich semantic structure, metadata and intelligence about your content. One that provides the flexibility to easily adapt and change your content structure, runs natively in the cloud and automatically scales on multiple servers. It works with leading search technologies to improve search experience and indexing, virtually eliminates administrative overhead, and costs a fraction of the price of a traditional relational database application. In short, a content platform that is better, faster, more flexible, more scalable, and cheaper than traditional relational database-backed Web CMS solutions.
These benefits and more are available using NoSQL.
Originally developed as a more powerful way to manage information for high-performance websites and applications, NoSQL (more aptly, “Not Only SQL”) is now moving into web content management and has grown into a market-leading technology for Internet applications.
Let’s look at a few reasons NoSQL is the future of web content management.
Better Content Structure
There is a wide range of channels to present your content. Not only do you have to think about the size of the form factor (e.g., desktop, smartphone, tablet) but also about the purpose of the channel and how the content needs to be presented.
In addition, consider that smartphones may be used on networks that are much slower than the DSL in your home or the office network. You need to get your content to the device fast, so you want to ensure your servers can pull together the right information and deliver it quickly.
What does this have to do with NoSQL and offering a better content structure? It all comes down to how your content is structured.
Structured content is content stored in a format that defines and describes it. This means you create content in such a way that there is no relationship to how it’s delivered on a webpage, but it is structured with tags and categories and contains metadata about the content itself.
Through the creation of structured content you have a single source for all your content requirements across the organization, and it’s easier to find by both humans and machines. Your content isn’t limited to a single format or technology, but instead can be used on your website, customer-facing business applications, social networks, mobile devices, etc.
Better content structure provides a “create once, publish anywhere” content model. This is the model NoSQL strongly supports.
Content Is Document-Based, Not Relational
Content stored in a relational database, like SQL Server, is the typical model for most web content management platforms. It requires content to be highly structured into tables and columns and normalized as much as possible to avoid duplication. Unfortunately this can cause issues with performance. To retrieve a particular record, the database has to join together a number of tables. When making changes, many tables have to be locked to ensure someone else doesn’t change a record while the initial changes are being saved.
There is no relational model in a NoSQL database. In a JSON document, store-based, NoSQL database, content is stored as documents. A document contains a set of key-value pairs, describing all the information that makes up a piece of content. Because all the content related to a record is stored in a single document, changes to the content can be made quickly. In addition, if the data model needs to change, only the affected documents need to be updated – there’s no schema update required and no database downtime necessary to make the changes.
In our always-on digital world, customers expect a highly personalized, contextual experience. To do that, organizations need to collect data. This data, called experience data, comes from a wide range of sources including personal information obtained from customer records or website subscriptions, the social graph, user-generated content, geolocation information obtained from the browser or mobile device, and machine logging data.
When you think about all the experience data that is collected and then used to create rich customer experiences, you know that a relational database is not able to efficiently store, index and search the information without a great deal of manual effort and constant database updates.
On the other hand, NoSQL was built to address the challenges of experience data (also referred to as Big Data). Big Data is known for its variety, its volume and its velocity. It requires a schema-less design and highly flexible data model. It also requires the ability to analyze it quickly to provide insights and information to the CMS to personalize experiences.
Big Content is different from Big Data in that it specifies mainly unstructured content (documents, emails, web page content, etc.). Big Content can get extremely large, but it’s not created with the velocity or in the volume that experience data is.
Despite the differences, both types of content are well suited to a NoSQL datastore. NoSQL supports both structured and unstructured content and can store millions of topics and documents. It also includes full-text indexing for search, along with taxonomy and faceted search.
Think about creating that personalized experience. The type of content or the way it is displayed on a webpage is going to be different based on the person viewing it and the current context (device used, search performed, navigation path, etc.). The ability to retrieve the right structured content from a NoSQL database quickly is essential to creating these great experiences.
Lower Scaling Costs
NoSQL databases have much lower operating costs than relational databases. A relational database needs to be continually scaled up, so it requires a highly sophisticated server in terms of performance and database size. A NoSQL database can be installed on standard commoditized servers and can easily scale out as data and performance requirements increase.
NoSQL databases also have integrated caching, reducing latency and increasing the throughput of data.
With the increase in cloud-computing, the three-tier Internet architecture for applications has grown significantly with web servers serving the front-end, or delivery tier, the CMS sitting in the application tier and the database in the data tier. NoSQL databases fit perfectly into this model as CMS apps require easy and dynamic scalability.
Right Technology at the Right Time
According to Market Research Media, the global NoSQL market is forecast to reach $3.4 billion in 2020. The success of NoSQL to support the exploding web content and experience management market is going to be a big part of this growth.
Every day millions of data points are collected on Internet users and used by companies to provide rich personalized online experiences across a growing number of channels and devices. The ability to store and manage this content quickly and easily and surface it in a variety of forms is critical to the entire customer lifecycle.
The ability of NoSQL to scale quickly and dynamically, to change data models on the fly, and to serve content faster helps organizations support an environment that changes quickly.
We are entering a new age and paradigm for managing content. NoSQL just may be the right technology at the right time, for managing modern digital experiences and intelligent content.