Why did you choose OrientDB? An Interview with Sysnet's CTO

This week we interviewed Odysseas Pentakalos.


Luca: “Hi Odysseas, Can you tell us a little about your company and your role?”

Odysseas: “Hi Luca. I am the Chief Technology Officer at SYSNET International which is based in Northern Virginia in the United States and focuses primarily on offering consulting services relating to software architecture and large distributed system implementation. For the past seven years we have also focused on the Health Information Technology and we have developed an open source product called OpenEMPI that offers master data management for patient demographic and other data.”

Luca: “What’s your background with other databases?”

Odysseas: “Through our consulting practice we have worked with pretty much every commercial and open source relational database in the market including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and Postgres. We also used MongoDB on a recent research project for storing clinical data. Earlier versions of OpenEMPI used solely Postgres to persist the data managed by the system but we’ve been working on a different edition of the software that uses OrientDB to store the key data.”

Luca: “Why did you chose OrientDB?”

Odysseas: “In the entity edition of OpenEMPI we wanted for the system to be able to manage records of any type of entity and not just patient demographic data. Before we selected OrientDB we developed a few prototypes to evaluate the performance of the database in being able to efficiently handle large volumes of records of data where the precise field composition of each record is specified by the user during deployment. We evaluated both relational databases and a couple of NoSQL database and OrientDB was clearly the best option. The flexible Apache license was also another key reason why we made the selection. Finally, the fact that OrientDB is supported by such a dedicated group of people who also provide commercial support if needed, was the feature that closed the deal.”

Luca: “What API are you using with OrientDB?”

Odysseas: “We have been working with OrientDB for over a year now. In the early stages we used the OrientDB Java-based Graph API, but earlier this year we migrated to the Blueprints API since the legacy one was no longer supported. We tried to use the Blueprints API as much as possible since it is a standard API for graph databases but in some areas we found that it is lacking the capabilities we need so we dig deeper and use the OrientDB-specific extensions.”

Luca: “In your opinion, which are the best 3 OrientDB features?”

Odysseas: “There are certainly more than 3 great features in OrientDB but here are the top 3.

    1. Performance: if OrientDB was not able to meet the performance requirements of our application the other features wouldn’t matter much so I have to put performance at the top. We have been impressed by the performance of the database in being able to support the key transactions that our software needs to process. We also plan to exploit the clustering capabilities soon which will allows us to achieve higher overall performance.
    2. Flexible Schema: The flexibility of being able to choose whether to use a schema or not is very important. We are exploiting OrientDBs ability to define classes to capture some of the common attributes of our data model while allowing the users to dynamically extend the schema over time.
    3. Transaction support: Some NoSQL databases provide unlimited scalability of the system but trade-off support for ACID transactions. Our application must support ACID semantics so we are willing to trade-off some performance in exchange for always having consistent data.

Congratulations on the great job you guys have done so far with OrientDB and the best of luck in the future.”

Luca: “Thanks Odysseas!”


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Luca Garulli
CEO at Orient Technologies LTD
the Company behind OrientDB

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