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What are the origins of NoSQL database? Where did it get started?

This article focuses on the developmental stages of the NOSQL database and reasons that let to formation of it to date


MultiValue (aka PICK) databases are developed at TRW in 1965.

It is a programming language, that incorporates a hierarchical database with B+ tree storage.  IBM IMS, a hierarchical database, is developed with Rockwell and Caterpillar for the Apollo space program in 1966.


InterSystems developed the ISM product family succeeded by the Open M product, all M[umps] implementations.  In 1979 Ken Thompson creates DBM which is released by AT&T.


TDBM supporting atomic transactions

NDBM was the Berkeley version of DBM supporting having multiple databases open at the same time.

SDBM – another clone of DBM mainly for licensing reasons.

GT.M is the first version of a key-value store with focus on high performance transaction processing.

BerkeleyDB reated at Berkeley in the transition from 4.3BSD to 4.4BSD. Sleepycat software is started as a company in 1996 when Netscape needed new features for BerkeleyDB.


GDBM is the Gnu project clone of DBM

Mnesia is developed by Ericsson as a soft real-time database to be used in telecom. It is relational in nature but does not use SQL as query language but rather Erlang itself

InterSystems Caché launched in 1997 and is a hybrid so-called post-relational database. It has object interfaces, SQL, PICK/MultiValue and direct manipulation of data structures. It is a M[umps] implementation. See Scott Jones comment below for more on the history of InterSystems


Graph database Neo4j is started in 2000.

db4o an object database for java and .net is started in 2000

QDBM is a re-implementation of DBM with better performance by Mikio Hirabayashi.

Memcached is started in 2003 by Danga to power Livejournal. Memcached is not really a database since it’s memory-only but there is soon a version with file storage called memcachedb.

Infogrid graph database is started as closed source in 2005, open sourced in 2008

CouchDB is started in 2005 and provides a document database inspired by Lotus Notes. The project moves to the Apache Foundation in 2008.

Google BigTable is started in 2004 and the research paper is released in 2006.


JackRabbit is started in 2006 as an implementation of JSR 170 and 283.

Tokyo Cabinet is a successor to QDBM by (Mikio Hirabayashi) started in 2006

The research paper on Amazon Dynamo is released in 2007.

The document database MongoDB is started in 2007 as a part of a open source cloud computing stack and first standalone release in 2009.

Facebooks open sources the Cassandra project in 2008

Project Voldemort is a replicated database with no single point-of-failure. Started in 2008.

Dynomite is a Dynamo clone written in Erlang.

Terrastore is a scalable elastic document store started in 2009

Redis is persistent key-value store started in 2009

Riak Another dynamo-inspired database started in 2009.

HBase is a BigTable clone for the Hadoop project while Hypertable is another BigTable type database also from 2009.






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