NoSQL Datastores of Interest to the .NET Developer

The world of NoSQL is vast, and this is in no way a comprehensive list of NoSQL datastores (just see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoSQL for how vast the NoSQL universe is).  After spending a lot of time researching, this is just a list of ones that have officially supported C# libraries, or are written in .NET.  I thought it would be a little easier to start learning the ins-and-outs of the different types of datastores without having to learn new languages also.  Pretty much every NoSQL datastore has some sort of REST-ful API, which you can work with regardless of your language choice.  Don’t let the presence or absence of a system on this list make your decision for your application choices–this is more a list of systems I think would be fairly simple and interesting to experiment with.  I have not yet worked with all of these datastores, but as I do I’ll add posts to this blog.

Every category of NoSQL is designed to solve a particular problem, and each option in each category has its ups and downs.  There are many options, so you really need to know what you want to do.  Do you need an embedded solution, or a scalable cluster?  Are you trying to discover relations between populations, store profile data in a flexible schema, or cache the results of API requests?  What types of indexing are supported?  Can you live with eventual consistency?

I tried to note some easy and low cost ways to get started with each datastore.  If there isn’t direct DBaaS support, you can always deploy Azure or AWS VMs, and even the Google Cloud Platform has some hosting options.  Try not to install everything on your local machine, but have fun!

Category Datastore .NET Support Notes
Graph neo4j http://neo4j.com/developer/dotnet/ Neo4j is perhaps the best known graph database.  Although the clients are community supported, they are maintained by two amazing developers.  It’s easy to get started, especially since GrapheneDB offers a free Hobby account.  There is also a simplified Azure VM deployment.
Titan none This is on the list as œsomething to watch.  Datastax (Cassandra) recently acquired the company behind Titan, and Datastax has a good history of .NET support.
OrientDB https://github.com/orientechnologies/OrientDB-NET.binary There are also community supported clients.  OrientDB is a hybrid datastore, supporting both document and graph features.
VelocityGraph Written in C# An open source hybrid (graph/document) datastore, written in C# which can be embedded or distributed.  There is a paid model for the distributed version also.
Document MongoDB Official and community clients listed at http://docs.mongodb.org/ecosystem/drivers/csharp/ One of the best known and most used document datastores, MongoDB is backed by 10gen, and mongolab.com offers a free sandbox account to get started.  MongoDB and Mongolab are available via Azure Marketplace, so you can spend free Azure credits if you have them.
Azure DocumentDB It’s Microsoft, no worries.
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn781482.aspx
This is still in Preview at the time of writing, but it looks very promising.  Being Azure, if you have Azure credits you can spend them on this.  It’s another DBaaS, so you won’t need to mess with VMs.
Amazon DynamoDB http://aws.amazon.com/sdk-for-net/ Another high performance DBaaS datastore, DynamoDB supports both document and key-value modes.  This is included in AWS’s free tier for a year.
OrientDB https://github.com/orientechnologies/OrientDB-NET.binary There are also community supported clients.  OrientDB is a hybrid datastore, supporting both document and graph features.
VelocityGraph Written in C# An open source hybrid (graph/document) datastore, written in C# which can be embedded or distributed.  There is a paid model for the distributed version also.
CouchDB https://couchdb.apache.org/ Another popular datastore, this is the open source project from Apache.  This is supported by Couchbase (see below)
Couchbase http://docs.couchbase.com/couchbase-sdk-net-1.2/ A next generation of CouchDB, in a way (see http://www.couchbase.com/couchbase-vs-couchdb).  Has both open source and commercial licenses.  Popular as an in-memory cache by some big name companies.  There is an Azure VM image in the Azure VM Depot.
RavenDB Written in .NET Open source and commercial licenses.  Has a embedded and scalable server options.  A RavenHQ hosted plan is available through the Azure Marketplace.
NinjaDB Pro Written in .NET Commercial, embeddable document datastore which is also compatible with Xamarin.  Supports either document or relational modes.  There is also a version for WinRT.
NDatabase Written in .NET An open-source in-memory object database.
Big Table Cassandra Official driver from Datastax,
https://github.com/datastax/csharp-driver
Datastax is the company supporting Planet Cassandra and largely supporting the Apache Cassandra project.  Datastax provides the commercial licensing for Cassandra.  Cassandra is very similar to HBase, but because of Datastax’s backing is the better choice, IMO.  Cassandra can be run on Azure (DataStax Guidance for Azure), and there is an older VM available from the Azure VM Depot.  As part of their wonderful “Succinctly” e-book series, Syncfusion also has Cassandra Succinctly.
Apache HBase community SDKs are just wrappers for the REST API.  Most of the .NET SDKs you’ll find are for HDInsight and aren’t guaranteed to work with Apache HBase. I really just put this here for comparison purposes.  HBase can be a real pain.  Seriously, look at Cassandra or HDInsight instead.
HDInsight It’s Microsoft, no worries HDInsight covers a lot of the Hadoop ecosystem, the HBase specific bits are introduced at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/hdinsight-hbase-overview/.
Key-Value Couchbase http://docs.couchbase.com/couchbase-sdk-net-1.2/ A next generation of CouchDB, in a way (see http://www.couchbase.com/couchbase-vs-couchdb).  Has both open source and commercial licenses.  Popular as an in-memory cache by some big name companies.  There is an Azure VM image in the Azure VM Depot.
Redis There are a number of community supported clients, listed at http://redis.io/clients#c.  Two of the more popular ones are from ServiceStack and StackExchange. A very popular choice as a cache layer.  Durable persistence isn’t the strong suit, and multiple-node sharding is only in beta.  You can add Redis to Azure from the Azure Marketplace.
Azure Tables It’s Microsoft, no worries Perhaps one of the top choices, especially if the rest of your application is on Azure.  Crazy scalable and very performant.  Table storage was one of the original features of Azure, and is very well vetted by now.
Amazon DynamoDB http://aws.amazon.com/sdk-for-net/ Another high performance DBaaS datastore, DynamoDB supports both document and key-value modes.  This is included in AWS’s œfree tier for a year.
Riak https://github.com/basho-labs/riak-dotnet-client/wiki An open-source distributed datastore.  There is also a commercial offering.  An Azure VM image is available via the Azure VM Depot.

2 thoughts on “NoSQL Datastores of Interest to the .NET Developer”

  1. Another example of NoSQL database is CryptonorDB (privacy aware cloud – mobile database): it manages the storage of encrypted data, and the client manages the key.
    There are currently client libraries available for:
    C# – .NET, Windows Store, Windows Phone, Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, Unity3D, Mono;
    Java – Android;

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