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I've seen it happen multiple times. The reasons vary, but it generally has to do with scaling up the system into more modularized components and using data stores better suited for particular sub-problems that the "big honking database" was used previously.

To be clear, I'm not really suggesting you avoid using fancy features in data stores like Redis or Solr. The relational database, with history as a guide, tends to be the first data store a system starts with, and ends up having everything thrown into it even if it is not the right tool for the job. Over time, chunks of data end up being moved out of the relational monster into other data stores. If your relational database choice is tightly coupled with your implementation, then you'll have a harder time moving things like your search engine into Solr, your queue into RabbitMQ, your counters into Redis, and so on. And yes, you'll also have a hard time moving to a different relational database, which I've also seen happen (on a massive, massive scale actually.)

If you stick to using an ORM that provides few leaks in its abstraction, write non-clever SQL, model things relationally using the standard types, generally speaking moving parts of a system out of a relational database into different data stores goes from being nearly impossible to being merely difficult.




> using data stores better suited for particular sub-problems

Sometimes, rather than swapping out the entire data store to get access to a feature, if you cut the rope that is tying your hands behind your back you may find that your existing data store can already handle your particular sub-problem quite well, and in fact may do so better than the fancy new one that was tailored specifically for that purpose.

This happens particularly often with PostgreSQL. If you haven't used its GiST or GIN index types, you really should play around with them, and you should keep them in the same arsenal and pull them out for the same reasons you might decide to just switch everything out to Solr. A lot of the reasons people might want to use Redis are handled quite well by PostgreSQL's type extensibility.

In essence, if you are willing to throw everything out and switch to a different tool, it seems entirely inane to ignore that the tool you already have might actually already cover the features you need, especially so if the reason you are refusing to use that functionality is to make it easier for you to eventually jump ship to a tool where you no longer have your self-imposed handicap and are now willing to use the features offered.




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