Some pundits have been predicting the imminent death of relational database technology as other database architectures emerge. Of course similar predictions were made back in the 1980s and 1990s when object-oriented databases and other alternative technologies came on the scene.
Relational database management systems like the Oracle Database and Microsoft's SQL Server will remain the dominant database workhorse behind most IT systems.
But in 2013 we will see an increasing shift away from monolithic database systems, where relational technology has been dominant, toward database "ecosystems" where relational databases supporting transactional IT systems work alongside "NoSQL" databases, column-oriented databases, in-memory databases and others. More businesses will adopt such next-generation database software this year for more specific tasks such as analyzing "big data" and storing unstructured data.