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What is Distributed SQL?

Relational databases were the best shot earlier and trusted by big firms to run their mission-critical applications. But since the internet revolution, most companies have started taking the digital economy very seriously. They have shifted their data, workloads, and user engagements to online platforms. That’s when Relational databases couldn’t keep up. Right then, NoSQL caught the attention and took the spotlight away. They had the huge capability to handle modern web apps and workloads, but they sacrificed it for data consistency and integrity. There was a need for a new type of Database that manages both. Distributed SQL is the answer.

What exactly is a Distributed SQL?

A Distributed SQL is a database made of multiple database instances working together (like nodes in a cluster), with each instance storing and querying a data subset rather than going for the entire dataset. Adding more instances to this database will increase querying performance or storage capacity. For the consistency part, data is replicated to the database instances all at the same time. So if you wish to learn SQL, then check out this SQL Course.

Let’s understand the scenarios where Distributed SQL will suit best:

E-commerce website: People have started buying everything online, and these companies need to anticipate the demand and dip to carve out the max profit. These companies will have to ensure that they have enough database instances ready to handle the huge influx of traffic, flexible enough to handle the dip in demand by dropping down database instances.

Food Delivery apps: Same is the case with food delivery apps and services. They have to understand and anticipate handling the huge traffic to their apps or websites when it’s the peak hours of business, like during breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Streaming media: There are various streaming platforms available right now around the globe. They have to ensure that they have the database instances ready at all times to handle its users to offer the right programs, at the right time, at the right cost, and format.

Likewise, in every other industry, they need to handle the surge and a dip in traffic. This amount of flexibility will help you run the business effectively.

How do companies scale up or scale down?

To scale relational databases, you need to find and replace an existing server with a bigger one. When that biggest server wasn’t enough, then you need to upgrade it. And if there is a dip in demand, then you need to drop them down. Some companies even turned to Oracle Exadata. Then companies improvised and took up Database sharding. It was an option for all those tech giants who were deep-pocketed because they were either unwilling or unable to spend millions of dollars on a hardware appliance.

Database sharding was a cost-effective solution compared to upgrading to the relational database but sharding was difficult to maintain, is brittle, and limited in scope. And also, it was too specialized to support only specific applications and queries. What you will get with Distributed SQL Database is that you will not have to spend a fortune on hardware appliances, nor have to compromise over technical limitations and difficulty of Database Sharding.

Distributed SQL’s biggest feature is its elasticity. You can add or delete database instances to match the demand or dip. This ability of Distributed SQL to change the number of database instances on the fly has proven to be a key differentiator. It also helps you save time wasted on sharding the database.

Some Distributed SQL spreads the data across various instances. They can check for the data and ensure that efficient distribution is in use, and they can also move dataset fragments here and there to improve performance.

This level of flexibility helps you in mitigating downtime and cost concerns. They can scale up and then scale them down and pay for what they used, how much they used, and the duration they used. It will cut down the costs.

Distributed SQL databases are designed by keeping in mind that data will be lost if kept, in a distributed way to different servers. One of the instances will fail. That’s why they replicate the same data in many instances, so there’s a high availability of data. And the database can handle the topology automatically. The benefits of Distributed SQL database are it will cut down costs, lost revenue, bad reputation, etc., from a possible downtime just because the company wasn’t able to handle huge traffic.


An efficient database is of primary importance to a successful business. Whatever the teams that took care of databases had to compromise on before, now won’t have to because Distributed SQL just solves all the problems that existed in the first place.

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What is Distributed SQL?


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