For almost three decades, people typically built applications against a single database. In the 1980s, client-server was introduced and apps started to become more distributed in nature, but the underlying data model was predominately structured, and the database was often a monolith. In the ’90s, the internet and three-tier application architecture emerged, but again, the database was still monolithic.

The introduction of Internet-enabled applications changed the demands companies place on their databases. The latency requirements are much lower, and they’re expected to be able to handle millions of transactions per second, with many millions of people using the app simultaneously across the globe. These expectations have resulted in developers rethinking how they architect their application. They are now building and using databases that can run faster and are more scalable than ever, thanks to the cloud. Traditional relational databases, once the default choice, are now just one option for building highly resilient, scalable applications more economically.

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