Migrating from relational databases to NoSQL requires a mind shift, and Hacklolade can help in the migration of the schema from a relational model to a model combining embedding and referencing, so you can leverage the power, performance, and flexibility of NoSQL.

For more information on NoSQL document schema design, you may want to read this 3-part blog.  Then use Hackolade to facilitate the migration...

The table below summarizes denormalization strategies and best practices:



Relationship is one-to-one

Merge tables into one collection

Relationship is one-to-few

Merge tables into parent collection with an array of embedded child documents

Relationship is one-to-many

Embed parent data as nested sub-document in child collection (consider bucketing)

Relationship is one-to-zillions

Store reference to parent in child document (consider child tables)

Relationship is many-to-one

Embed child data as nested sub-document in parent

Relationship is many-to-many

Store data as separate documents, with reference to the parent in the child, and vice-versa

Data reads are mostly parent fields

Store children as separate documents

Data writes are mostly parent fields or child fields (not both)

Store children as separate documents

Data writes are mostly parent fields and child fields (both)

Store children as nested objects

From the blog referenced above, here are some “rules of thumb” to guide you through these innumerable (but not infinite) choices:

  1. think in terms of queries, updates, and data representation, rather than in terms of storage.  Data access patterns (instead of 3NF) drives you data model
  2. favor embedding unless there is a compelling reason not to
  3. needing to access an object on its own is a compelling reason not to embed it
  4. arrays should not grow without bound. High-cardinality arrays are a compelling reason not to embed.
  5. don't be afraid of application-level joins (with proper indexing)
  6. consider the write/read ratio when denormalizing. A field that will mostly be read and only seldom updated is a good candidate for denormalization.

1. Reverse-engineer a Data Definition Language file (DDL)

Data Definition Language (DDL) is a vocabulary used to define data structures in SQL databases. These statements are used to create, alter, or drop data structures in an SQL database instance.

If you generate a DDL from Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Hadoop Hive, you can then read it with Hackolade and generate a model of the schema.

Choose Tools > Reverse-Engineering > Data Definition Language file:

Then choose the source database (as each vendor has it's own implementation of the DDL syntax).  The structure of a DDL can be imported either as an entity in the Entity Relationship Diagram, or alternatively as a model definition so it could be re-used in the model:

and select the file from your file system.

If you wish to force the destination of the reverse-engineering operation, you may specify the container in which the entities will be inserted.

Hackolade currently supports the following SQL dialects: Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, DB2, PostgreSQL, Informix, Snowflake, and Teradata.

When you click OK, Hackolade will read the DDL file and generate the schema model, for example:

2. Suggest denormalization

You should save the resulting model as a base, for example v0.  Then it is suggested you save it again as v1 and work with the denormalization function to make v1 evolve towards a denormalized model.

The user needs to have a fairly good idea of where he wants to go with the schema design, and use Hackolade to facilitate the work.  For example, with the Northwind database shown above, in a NoSQL model, one would want to merge the tables 'orders' and 'order details' while embedding some data from the master tables around.

The successive steps could include:

1. Embed as sub-documents into 'orders': employees, customers, and shippers

2. Embed as sub-documents into 'products': suppliers and categories

3. Embed as sub-documents into 'order details': products

4. Embed as an array of sub-documents into 'order': order details

5. Delete 'order details'

As a susequent step, the modeler may want to denormalize products information into the order detail lines by embedding product sub-documents in the child, the deleting the unnecesary fields.  This time, as a products master collection is justified as its own entity, it should not be deleted.

But denormalization, depending on how you want to access data to optimize performance, may also include 2-way referencing, or 2-way embedding.