Simba Technologies at couchbase connect venue in San Francisco 2015
The Couchbase Connect Venue

Couchbase Connect wrapped up last week, and I had the pleasure of attending and giving a workshop and presentation showing off the Simba Couchbase ODBC and JDBC drivers that allow users to query data via both N1QL and SQL. At the conference, Couchbase announced that version 4.0 is now Beta, more tightly integrating the power N1QL query engine, and at the same time, Simba announced that the ODBC and JDBC drivers have also reached beta.

Now that I’ve had some time to ponder I thought it would be interesting to share what I thought were the themes of the conference: Expanding the Couchbase eco-system and showing off the power and ease of querying Couchbase through N1QL and SQL (via the Simba ODBC and JDBC drivers).

Slide from the keynote showing part of the eco-system
Slide from the keynote showing part of the eco-system

Couchbase has been working with its partners, including Simba, to ensure that you have a complete story when using Couchbase for your data needs. You already have an impressively fast data store with Couchbase that scales out, but now you don’t have to wonder how you can analyze that data. I heard one story about a company that replicated their data into MySQL to allow them to query the data in their BI tool of choice. With the release of Couchbase 4.0 and the debut of N1QL, customers can now analyze their data in Couchbase utilizing the power of their clusters, while still using their BI tool of choice.

For those of you who don’t know, N1QL (aka SQL for JSON) is the query language that Couchbase has created to allow querying of JSON data within Couchbase. It is very SQL-like, with extensions that allow you to manipulate JSON data in a natural way.

There were many presentations by partners of Couchbase that showed off how they were taking advantage of N1QL, and many times also taking advantage of the Simba connectors, to create a compelling data analysis store. During the keynote, Roomlia mentioned that they were using the Simba connectors with N1QL to provide insights into their data using the tool everyone knows and loves, Excel.

Roomlia uses Excel and N1QL for analysis
Roomlia uses Excel and N1QL for analysis

I also saw presentations by others including Looker, Metanautix, and Tableau that were showing off how easy it is to plug Couchbase into your existing BI toolchain, providing an easy path to analysis. All in all, the eco-system demonstrated by the partners at Couchbase Connect was impressive in both breadth and depth, and I heard more than one story about how Couchbase was the initiator, showing how important they think their partners and the eco-system around Couchbase is.

The other important part of the conference, N1QL and SQL access, was also shown off by many of the presentations. One of the more impressive ones was the Tableau presentation given by Jeffrey Feng. Tableau is the hottest visualization tool right now, and Jeff gave an impressive talk that showed off both Tableau and Couchbase to great effect. If you have the chance, I highly recommend attending a Tableau talk as their visualizations are always insightful and interesting.

Tableau users can connect to Couchbase through an ODBC interface
Tableau, Couchbase, and Simba

The interesting thing to note here is that the connectivity between Tableau and Couchbase was provided by the Simba Couchbase ODBC driver. Tableau does not yet understand N1QL, however, because the Simba Couchbase ODBC driver also supports full SQL, Tableau was able to communicate with Couchbase as if it were a regular relational database while still taking advantage of the performance and scalability Couchbase provides. As Tableau starts to learn N1QL and take more advantage of what Couchbase provides, the Simba Couchbase ODBC driver will still be the connector as it provides the capability to use both languages.

This applies to the whole ecosystem, it’s easy to start to integrate Couchbase with your traditional tool-chain using SQL, and then take advantage of the power of N1QL as time goes on without changing how you connect. Couchbase is a very forward-thinking NoSQL vendor in that they realized that legacy applications and traditional BI tools are not going away, and they needed a way to integrate with that eco-system while growing the Couchbase and N1QL community. Simba was proud to partner with them to provide that connectivity.

If you haven’t already, try out the Couchbase beta here and grab the Simba connectors here to get started!