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Will cloud databases and cloud infrastructure combine?

Will cloud databases and cloud infrastructure combine?

Written by David Linthicum for Nelson Hilliard

According to RnRMarketResearch.com, and PR Web.com, the Cloud Database & DBaaS Market is Growing at 67.30% CAGR to 2019.  “Emergence of innovative database storage offerings such as NoSQL, SQL, public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and virtual private clouds are pushing the growth of cloud database and Database as a Service (DBaaS) market. Small and medium business are rapidly adopting cloud-based database management services to reduce cost and IT complexities compared to large enterprises, thereby pushing the market growth. However, large enterprises also have huge potential for an aggressive adoption in the future.”

There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between public cloud providers and underlying database services.  Database-as-a-service drives much of the growth with public cloud providers that serve up the database as well as infrastructure services.  The usual suspects are AWS, Google, Microsoft, and a few others.      

While public cloud customers want storage and compute services, many who implement enterprise cloud databases find that the public cloud is also the best and most cost-effective platform.  Considering the growth of big data, the cost-effective nature of the public cloud is just too compelling for enterprises that must deal with both shrinking budgets, and the growing need to holistically manage enterprise data.   

There is no question that public providers are selling a lot of SQL and non-SQL databases…as-a-service.  There may be a deeper trend here that those looking to pick public cloud providers should understand.  While IaaS providers continue to grow and improve their database services, the database cloud is becoming part of infrastructure offering, or, the other way around.

Why?  The fact of the matter is that most public cloud providers offer both brand name (e.g., Oracle) as well as house-brand databases (e.g., AWS’s Red Shift), that are somewhat decoupled from the infrastructure.  In the case of the Oracle brand name, this is done for obvious reasons considering the fact that Oracle is an ecosystem unto itself.    

However, as cloud databases mature, public cloud providers will couple the database services deeper into the infrastructure services. By doing things such as optimizing I/O for database use, the public cloud provider should be able to coax some additional performance out of the database service.  Perhaps that’s enough to convince a larger enterprise player that this is the public cloud service of choice.   

The same approach can be applied to security services, monitoring and management, and other features that are typically layered deep into the infrastructure that should be extended to the database subsystems.  This removes the database from having to deal with platform abstractions, which should result in higher-performing services, as well as a seamless look and feel between the native infrastructure and data management tools.

The real benefit to this coupling of the database and infrastructure services is to the developer tasked with building cloud-born applications.  There won’t be as much context switching between data and infrastructure services, including API consistency, and even the ability to manage both database and infrastructure resources as groups of services.    

While the combining of database and infrastructure services may not happen overnight, I think the progression toward this type of coupling has already begun.  AWS and Google have done a pretty good job of engineering better database performance, which includes adapting their own house brand database-as-a-service offerings to take better advantage of the underlying infrastructure.  Those who pick database-as-a-service offerings are beginning to consider this trend as a positive feature.  As soon as the other cloud providers understand that this is a competitive differentiator, they will jump onboard the coupled bandwagon.      

The brand name databases will be hurt by this trend, I’m thinking.  Most typically don’t allow cloud providers to hack away at brand-name core database services and mesh them with the provider platform.  Thus, the focus will be on putting most of the R&D efforts into in-house databases.  Considering that cloud providers own that IP, that is where I would make the investment as well.   

The key to this trend is the increasing demand for databases that are immense in size, and leverage characteristics of both operational and analytical data.  All operational data will become analytical data in the future, and cloud providers will need to support this trend, which will consist mostly of performance challenges.

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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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