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No Database Is Perfect: Applying CAP Theorem to Database Choice

November 16, 2023

Since its introduction to the marketplace in 2000, the consistency, availability, and partition theorem, or CAP theorem, has been a guiding principle in database management. Computer scientist Eric Brewer presented the CAP theorem in a talk about distributed systems that provide web services. Two MIT professors later proved the theorem. It states that a database can be strong in one or two of three areas – database consistency, availability, and partition tolerance – but not in all three simultaneously. For instance, traditional SQL databases prioritize strong consistency but may compromise on availability during network failures.