Paul M. Beach

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Brent Langhals, PhD


The effectiveness and performance of data-intensive applications are influenced by the suitability of the data models upon which they are built. The relational data model has been the de facto data model underlying most database systems since the 1970’s. However, the recent emergence of NoSQL data models have provided users with alternative ways of storing and manipulating data. Previous research has demonstrated the potential value in applying NoSQL data models in non-distributed environments. However, knowing when to apply these data models has generally required inputs from system subject matter experts to make this determination. This research, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, extends an existing approach for selecting suitable data models based on a 12 evaluation criteria with a novel methodology to characterize and assess the suitability of the relational and non-relational (i.e., NoSQL) data models based solely on observations of a user’s interactions with an existing relational database system. Results from this work show that this approach is able to identify and characterize the preestablished criteria in the observed usage of existing systems and produce suitability recommendations for alternate data models based on those observations.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number