The relational database model was first proposed by English computer scientist Edgar Frank Codd in 1070 while working at IBM and has been commercially deployed for over forty years. It’s a rare accomplishment in software development that continues to evolve today. Relational databases generally serve as backends for the smallest to the largest apps and products in the world today. While relational databases have optimized for speed, concurrency, latency, and overall performance, they have not adapted to manage metadata changes at scale. Specifically, many organizations struggle to keep development velocity, agility, and confidence when deploying schema changes.
In the past, developers would plan a schema change months in advance and collaborate with database administrators to approve and coordinate the transition to the new model. To apply the changes, systems would be taken down for maintenance for hours or days. Given the complexity and time it took, teams would only deliver a handful of changes per year.