A NoSQL or Not Only SQL database provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases. Motivations for this approach include simplicity of design, horizontal scaling and finer control over availability.

The data structure (e.g. key-value, graph, or document) differs from the RDBMS, and therefore some operations are faster in NoSQL and some in RDBMS. There are differences though and the particular suitability of a given NoSQL DB depends on the problem to be solved (e.g. does the solution use graph algorithms?). The appearance of mature NoSQL databases has reduced the rationale for Java content repository (JCR) implementations.

NoSQL systems are also referred to as "Not only SQL" to emphasize that they may in fact allow SQL-like query languages to be used. Many NoSQL stores compromise consistency (in the sense of the CAP theorem) in favor of availability and partition tolerance. Barriers to the greater adoption of NoSQL stores include the use of low-level query languages, the lack of standardized interfaces, and the huge investments already made in SQL by enterprises.

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