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Data structures still matters and very much so! If you run in the cloud data structures has to be very efficient! Data should be normalized. MySQL has built hash table support adaptive hash indexes.

I think one should also not over complicate the data layer.

Boring tech, I like the safety C D of SQLs ACID. http://boringtechnology.club/

> Data should be normalized.

This is a rule of thumb, only, and depends on your definition of efficiency and your queries. If you normalize everything, especially with some analytics queries, you will quickly find silly barriers to query times caused by all of the required joins.

Sure, but now we're getting into higher level system design. The schema used to run the operational system may/will be different from the one used for reporting and analytics. This is what data warehouses were born out of with the flattening of data, star/snowflake schemas, dimensions, etc...

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