Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


The relational model in the modern development age

Towards an improved operational paradigm, illustrated by Vitess

Relational databases have invested in the performance of the relational model, but not as much in developer flows, creating an operational barrier driving developers away. We present an improved paradigm that brings back ownership into developers hands, illustrated by recent developments in Vitess.

The relational model is one of the oldest surviving models in computer science. But while relational databases have evolved to meet modern load, throughput and scalability needs, they have not evolved as much to meet developers' needs.

The schema, at the heart of the relational model, remain a major operational blocker in modern development flows. Developing and deploying schema changes is unlike any other development and deployment flow in practice today. Operational complexity and constraints, lack of conflict resolution, difficulty or inability to undeploy, and the need to understand database internals, all make relational schema development deter developers, who look for other solutions elsewhere.

In this session we will review these impediments and how they came to be, and offer a modern take, that gives developers back their ownership of their data and flows. Recent developments in Vitess, an open source CNCF project, introduce new capabilities that change the relational development paradigm. We will discuss:

  • Development flow: hiding the operational complexity
  • Deployments and scheduled schema migrations
  • Undeploy: revertible changes
  • Align schema and code: declarative schemas, idempotent deployments, and version control


Photo of Shlomi Noach Shlomi Noach