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Q&A: Do we need new infrastructure to support IoT?

Google recently announced the release of a beta version of Cloud Bigtable, a new managed NoSQL database, based on the Google Cloud Platform. Bigtable is designed for large enterprises to store and analyse large data sets, designed to make information sharing faster and more reliable.

The company promises that Cloud Bigtable will offer single-digit millisecond latency and 2x the performance per dollar when compared to the likes of HBase and Cassandra.

However, database expert, CEO and co-founder of RethinkDB, Slava Akhmechet, says sharing that data in real-time is possible through RethinkDB.

Do you think the infrastructure tools we have today can withstand the needs of the IoT market?

SA: Building IoT applications with existing infrastructure is possible, but difficult. If you have sufficient time, budget, and access to talent you can work around the limitations of existing infrastructure and develop the missing pieces in-house. But this model of software development is very inefficient, expensive, and time-consuming.

One huge bottleneck we’ve identified is integrating the database with PubSub tools to build real-time IoT apps. For example, if you want to aggregate sensor data and give your users a real-time dashboard with a summary of the data, you have to poll the database on a time interval and then replicate that data to every instance of the dashboard. This is very challenging to do in an efficient and scalable way. We built RethinkDB to solve these problems once, and allow everyone to build these types of applications with very little effort.

Why is RethinkDB different, and what does it offer?

SA: RethinkDB is the first open-source, scalable JSON database built from the ground up for the real-time web. It inverts the traditional database architecture by exposing an exciting new access model – instead of polling for changes; the developer can tell RethinkDB to continuously push updated query results to applications in real-time. RethinkDB’s real-time push architecture dramatically reduces the time and effort necessary to build scalable real-time apps.

In addition to being designed from the ground up for real-time apps, RethinkDB offers a flexible query language, intuitive operations and monitoring APIs, and is easy to setup and learn.

Why is it open-source?

SA: Developing RethinkDB as an open-source project has huge advantages. All development discussions are on GitHub, so we get immediate user feedback on new features while the work is still in conceptual stages. Getting user feedback that early in the process results in a dramatically better product.

Working this closely with our users gives everyone a sense of control and ownership, which results in a very vibrant community. Our users evangelise RethinkDB at meetups, conferences, and social media because they have control over the project.

We also get very important contributions from hundreds of contributors from around the globe, which significantly improves quality and development speed. All this wouldn’t have been possible if RethinkDB were closed source.

I should point out that more than 100,000 developers build apps on RethinkDB.

Who can benefit from RethinkDB, and where can they find it?

SA: Any developer or business that’s building real-time apps can benefit from RethinkDB. Our customers have successfully used RethinkDB to build collaborative web and mobile apps, multiplayer games, real-time marketplaces, streaming analytics dashboards, and connected devices applications.

People can download RethinkDB at, and get started in minutes. We also offer commercial services to help customers build and deploy applications using RethinkDB, available at (opens in new tab).

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.