In the words of New Relic Senior Site Reliability Engineer Jonathan Owens, “Your data storage is important, and even more so at scale. Keeping those systems healthy is one of the most important jobs in your infrastructure, but how do you pick the right one?”

jonathan owens futurestack presentationIn a FutureStack15 session last month called “Databases and Dragons,” Jonathan told attendees what they really need is a good way to categorize the choices in order to find a storage system that will fit their data. And he just happened to have come up with a useful system … inspired by tabletop role-playing games!

Yep, just as these games have different species or races of characters like humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and orcs, data comes in types such as Event, Timeslice, Cache, Relational, Binary, and so on. Using the metaphor of a role–playing game character sheet that defines each character’s strengths, weaknesses, personality, and aptitudes, Jonathan has matched data types to role-playing races. Event data = human, for example, while Relational data = Elf!

Watch the full presentation below to see how it all fits together, and, most important, find out which data store solutions work best with which kinds of data. Just be aware: “Reality is a real jerk of a dungeon master.”

You can see all available FutureStack15 presentation videos, including the keynotes, at our FutureStack15 YouTube playlist. We’ll be adding more in the coming days and weeks, so subscribe now!


Dragon image courtesy of

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these presentations are those of the respective speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. By providing access to these presentations, New Relic does not adopt, guarantee, approve or endorse the information, views or products discussed therein. The respective presentation speakers have given permission to New Relic to post the content they presented onstage.'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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