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The importance of speed and storage

Why computing infrastructure must change

Zigmars Rasscevskis
Funny racedriver image via Shutterstock

Many databases today are based on the traditional relational database models which are unable to compete with the increasing influx of unstructured data that companies are dealing with. And, as society becomes more and more digital, technology is granting workers access to information across several platforms anytime, anywhere: in the cloud, on premise, via mobile channels, by people and even by machines.

The importance of speed and storage when managing data has never been greater because data that was previously static is now unstructured and dynamic. If enterprises want to gain back control, their sense of security and their ability to garner valuable business critical insights from their data, it’s time to reevaluate current computing infrastructure.

Today’s datasets are much bigger than what can be stored in the memory of static servers. The amount of servers required to handle today’s influx of data is not manageable and causes many clusters of commodity hardware to fail. An instantly scalable solution is necessary to garner the most insights from unstructured data, and sort, analyze and manage increasing volumes of this data in real time. Relational databases can not do this effectively today.
Relational databases, however, have been an ideal place to store data so it stays persistent and durable; But enterprise users and developers today want to manipulate the information within the database to gain valuable insights about their business or applications quickly and effectively. Today’s computing infrastructure lacks the ability to handle the velocity, variety and volume of data that continues to grow. If organizations want to gain business insights from this data, they need to combine the power of scalability and computational processing. Because today’s hardware, such as servers and storage, are becoming more and more commoditized, enterprise users and developers have greater access to more computational power that enables real-time processing across vast amounts of data in the cloud.

Below are three major benefits for enterprise users and developers who are considering the adoption of cloud-based database solutions:

The Need for Speed

Many common database operations can process queries only as fast as the computing power at hand allows. Hosting in the cloud allows providers to bring as much computing power as you need and when you need it — which is extremely attractive for enterprises and developers. Furthermore, database operations frequently have long periods of inactivity when little to now computing power is required. These periods are subject to sudden moments of intense computational needs, such as when generating massive reports for business users. Enterprise users and developers researching cloud-based options should also plan to pay only for what you consume, whether you’re simply accepting incoming data or crunching “big” numbers for a report.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the major benefit of any cloud solution. Over the life cycle of a business, data needs change enormously, especially in recent year as datasets continue to grow larger and larger through a combination of structured and unstructured data. Enterprises that are starting with a cloud solution ensures the business is properly supported by the appropriate infrastructure to account for uncertain growth levels. This is also true for developers who may not know exactly how much infrastructure they need before embarking on a new project or building a new application. Generally speaking, flexibility makes future infrastructure road-mapping a lot simpler — one must simply familiarize oneself with the scaling options for the cloud provider.

Cloud database solutions allow you to deploy and scale your use up or down without committing to long term investments in infrastructure. By offering predictable billing, easy scaling, and on-demand compute power, the cloud lets you adapt your database painlessly.

Expertise

A final benefit of cloud services is that they allow a third-party provider to handle the difficult parts of hardware maintenance. Provisioning hardware, responding to pages when systems fail, and dealing with the nuts and bolts of physical machines are no longer the enterprise’s or developer’s concern. Common database problems typically affect storage devices and backups. Users should seek database cloud solutions that build in three levels of redundancy, meaning you don’t have to worry about hardware reliability or implementing your own fallback procedures.
While some CTOs and IT professional prefer hosting and managing locally to keep control of their systems, the trend in the industry is a move towards greater use of cloud services. Many enterprises are learning that it’s easiest to outsource the worries that come with managing and maintaining infrastructure, and letting your business focus on its core competencies. Experience and trusted cloud service providers can allow businesses to grow at their own pace by adding infrastructure as needed and it can help keep the costs lower since you only pay for what you need. From a developer’s perspective, reduced technological headaches and more predictable cloud database usage costs also makes perfect sense.

Database Considerations

While cloud is becoming the obvious choice for enterprise and developers, users should also consider a two technological capabilities when selecting their cloud-based database:

  • Document-oriented database: Document stores provide more functionality because it recognizes the structure of the data stored. The system is able to group similar objects together and and partition data over many machines. Document-oriented databases can also persist data while building efficient numeric, full-text search and geospatial indices that maintains ACID properties for updating multiple documents.
  • Support for JavaScript: New databases are emerging that support and enable execution of arbitrary JavaScript code directly in the database, next to the data.The code seamlessly accesses indices that are optimized for fast retrieval from SSD devices and RAM. Basically, these databases can can not only store data, but process data and run arbitrary computations.
  • Real-Time Analytics: A common reason for cloud resistance among IT departments is the inability to control the network experience. Users expect real-time responsiveness, especially in the case of big data analytics. Users should look for a cloud database provider that can deliver these requirements and scale their network’s performance accordingly as user demands spike.
  • Minimal Learning Curve: As enterprises move to a mix-and-match technology approach, it’s important that they leverage the same core skill sets across applications and environments. Not all cloud database platforms are easy to use, nor do they all support the same standards. Enterprises should look for a platform that aligns with the existing skill sets of their database analysts and application developers, such as XML, SQL, and JSON.

Conclusion

As datasets get bigger, more businesses will rely on large-scale data analysis to navigate the world and the real-time opportunities around them. Cloud computing will become the de facto standard for business applications, communications, and data as IT leaders re-envision their role from managing information to managing innovation and driving business value through data. The database will continue to evolve for the better as it is being tasked with supporting more non-traditional data types.

Author

Zigmars Rasscevskis

Zigmars left a senior engineering position at Google to join Clusterpoint as the company CEO, foreseeing that document oriented databases would take the market by storm. Prior to joining Clusterpoint, Zigmars worked for 8 years at Google, where among other projects he managed the web search backend software engineering team in Zurich. Before his Google career, Zigmars worked for Exigen, the leading regional IT company, and Lursoft, a leading regional information subscription service company.


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