Introducing Tenacity – An ORM Independent Way to Manage Inter-database Relationships

I’m a big believer in polyglot persistence. There are so many (very different) production ready databases available today that’s it is becoming more and more common to find applications using more than one database, utilizing the strengths of each. Using the right tool for the job gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

However, polyglot persistence comes with its own set of drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is the loss of foreign keys, which are very important in maintaining data integrity. Another drawback is that Object/Relational Mapping (ORM) libraries typically focus on a specific database, or type of database. So, writing code that manages relationships between objects backed by different databases hasn’t been nearly as easy as writing code to manage relationships between objects in the same database.

Tenacity’s goal is to address some of these issues. Tenacity is a ruby gem that provides an ORM independent way of managing relationships between models backed by different databases.

Tenacity works by extending popular Ruby ORM libraries to respond to a set of methods that the tenacity core uses to build and manage relationships between objects. By extending the ORM libraries to implement this interface, tenacity is able work with the objects in a generic way, without having to know what database is backing the given objects. This approach also allows you to continue using your favorite ORM libraries. To use tenacity, you simply need to include Tenacity inside your model.

Tenacity is heavily based on ActiveRecord’s associations, and aims to behave in much the same way, supporting many of the same options.

This initial release of tenacity supports belongs_to, has_one, and has_many associations, and the ActiveRecord, CouchRest, and MongoMapper ORMs. However, there is still plenty of work to be done. Feedback, bug reports, and code contributions are always welcome.

Tenacity is free and open source, and can be found on GitHub at



gem install tenacity