The decline and fall of the relational database


What have the Roman empire and the relational database got in common? Not too much at the moment I would suggest, but in a few short years I think we will be seeing an interesting similarity in their life histories. Pretend we are in next decade somewhere...Here is how it might look in Wikipedia if I'm right. “Like the Roman Empire, the Relational Database grew gradually to be an extremely dominant force. Like the Roman Empire, it suffered gradual collapse the causes of which, are debated by historians to this day...”
Of course, from the current vantage point of 2009 – still some years away, I suspect, from the collapse of the relational database hegemony –  it is difficult to predict how history will be written. Will the relational database have the equivalent the Romulus Augustulus abdication moment? Will some historians attribute some modern day IT equivalent of lead poising to its demise? Will I prove to be utterly wrong in the grand tradition of technology prognosticators?
I am predicting that the fall of the relational database will indeed happen and furthermore, I am predicting that history will not point to any one single event as the trigger. Rather, I suspect that a combination of forces, a variety of ideological movements and technological developments, acting contemporaneously, will create a perfect storm for the relational database. I see seven main forces at work. I have given each force a somewhat whimsical name in what follows. Here is list of all seven with a brief explanation of each. The rest of the article goes into a little more detail on each one.
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