Databases aren’t sexy, but they’re the absolute foundation of the tech world, the ground on which all of its edifices are constructed. You probably use a hundred every day. At least. They’re like the Spice in Dune: “S/he who controls the database, controls the universe!” Well, don’t look now, but that universe is beginning to quake.

In the beginning was the flat file, and lo, it was pretty awful, so help us Codd. Then came SQL and Larry Ellison, who inexplicably became the world’s sixth-wealthiest man on the back of the thoroughly mediocre Oracle database. (I once spent several months as an Oracle developer. It was the longest several months of my professional life.)

For a long while the relational-database triumvirate of Oracle, IBM’s DB2, and Microsoft’s SQL Server ruled unchallenged, with Oracle first among equals. Then came the open-source revolution, and MySQL and PostgreSQL

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