Cloud Databases Gaining Momentum

Typical cloud computing analysis over the past few years has focused upon 3 fundamental offerings: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Now, a new class of cloud offerings, dubbed Database-as-a-Service (DaaS ??), has emerged in response to the high costs of provisioning, administration, security, backup and recovery of on-premise data management solutions.

Cloud Databases are not simply IaaS with a database license. In order to be competitive in the market, cloud database vendors must provide an abstraction layer and standardization which essentially removes the requirement to have a database administration role on your staff.

Fair enough, but if you already have an on-premise database architecture in place, why would you want to put your nextdatabase in the cloud?

According to Forrester Research, there are five prominent use cases:

1. Application Development and Testing – application developers and testers rarely get the luxury of comprehensive stress testing, because it is too expensive to build out anything other than a basic database to test functionality. Cloud databases offer quick ramp up time for testing of high load applications – and only for a small duration of time, attractive in a pay-as-you-go price model.

2. Mobile Applications – mobile applications which compose data from a variety of applications and services need a central repository, or hub, from which to pull the data they need. Cloud Databases offer a perfect single data source to aggregate data from multiple sources.

3. Departmental Collaboration – collaboration software has become an absolute necessity, yet many departmental applications find it difficult to justify enterprise collaboration tools and spend. Cloud databases are a lightweight spend for lightweight data accessed globally.

4. SMB and departmental applications – smaller organizations have many of the same enterprise data needs as larger enterprises, with a fraction of the IT budget. I can almost hear the Access database developers groaning.

5. Database backup and archive – enterprises have a variety of data retention requirements which can be met with a cloud database more efficiently than on-premise. How much are you paying to hold on to historical data which you rarely access?

I think I can distill these five points into a business no-brainer. Cloud Databases are all about speed. Not speed of access to your data, but speed from business concept to marketplace.

Another important note, Forrester’s analysis identifies four leaders among cloud database vendors, with a pack of contenders nipping at their heels. This indicates to me that the market is maturing rapidly, with well understood selection criteria evolving for CIO’s looking to make a selection.

The leaders include:

  • Microsoft’s Windows Azure SQL Database, a traditional SQL Server data store in the Microsoft cloud.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) RDS – which is provides hardware infrastructure supporting several RDBMS platforms: MySQL, Oracle and SQL Server
  • AWS DynamoDB – a NoSQL implementation designed for holding unstructured Big Data
  •’s – this is running the data platform for SalesForce itself

Check out the full analysis here:

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