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BLOG: The virtues of database as a service

David Linthicum | Aug. 5, 2013
As the rest of cloud computing grows, database-as-a-service is often overlooked — despite its huge value

Database as a service is nothing new. But you'd think it was considering its low adoption — fewer than 1 percent of businesses do it — even as other forms of cloud computing are growing fast. The concept of keeping corporate data in public clouds is new to most businesses.

But as the needs around data analytics and transactional data processing continue to grow — and IT budgets remain the same — the use of public cloud-based databases will climb rapidly.

Several developments will help spur that growth:

  • Many new startup database technology vendors are providing single-purpose databases. They do one or two things really well, such as transaction processing or analytics.
  • Each of these startups typically has a data-as-a-service offering.
  • Most enterprises are moving to complex database tools, whether the databases reside on site or in clouds.

The key initial driver is the move to more single-purpose databases. Its use in the public cloud is largely driven by small tactical enterprise IT projects that end up using database-as-a-service providers out of sheer need for the technology, as well as limited budgets. Once, Oracle was the default choice for databases, but that's no longer the case.

Longer term, there's the reality that enterprises balking at the idea of placing some corporate data outside of the firewall due to security and compliance issues often find themselves with in-house data systems that are less secure, slower to market, and way more expensive. Database as a service addresses the needs of the business faster, and with fewer dollars. Security problems are easy to solve, even beyond the capabilities of on-premises systems that IT currently favors.

What most enterprises need to get over is the concept of database-as-a-service. The management of databases in traditional IT shops is all-consuming and expensive. That means it's not sustainable. IT needs to rethink its approaches to databases, including the models of consumption and the technologies it uses.

Although the idea of using database as a service scares many businesses these days, I believe that will change soon. In fact, I suspect it's becoming the first "killer application" of the public cloud.



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