2013 Trends in Data as a Service and Cloud Computing

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DaaSby Paul Williams

One of the principal ongoing trends that touch all areas of the Data Management profession is Cloud Computing. In 2013, the Cloud’s growth will continue to persist at all levels, both business and consumer. Individual users will leverage Cloud-based storage options for music, video, and pictures, while businesses will use similar products to allow employees to manage Office documents while on the go. Both groups get the advantage of mobile access and the promise of online security.

For data professionals, the trend in Data as a Service (DaaS) offerings is also slated to continue its growth through 2013. The new initiative between 10gen and SoftLayer wrapping MongoDB as a Cloud service, and similar work from Garantia Data around memcached and Redis – both mentioned in the DATAVERSITY™ article on 2013 trends in the world of NoSQL – illustrate the growth of DaaS throughout the industry.

This article focuses on 2013 trends, new products, and new service offerings inside the growing world of DaaS and Cloud Computing.

Security Remains a Vital Part of Data as a Service

Despite the promise of the Cloud in 2013, security remains a concern – especially for public Cloud offerings. The security-focused IT professional association ISACA recently conducted a poll of IT professionals on security-related issues within technology.

ISACA found that 69 percent of the polled technical professionals felt that the risk of using public Clouds outweighed their benefit. This is especially disturbing considering that file security is one of supposed advantages of Cloud-based storage. Conversely, 57 percent of those polled felt the benefits outweighed the risks – for private Clouds. This speaks to the promise of professional “as a Service” offerings.

The survey also revealed that 67 percent of those polled felt a significant risk from employees using public Cloud-based storage offerings like Dropbox, or Google Docs. There are many ways to mitigate this risk, but educating the employees was the most popular method with 36 percent of the vote.

Throughout 2013, enterprises look to derive meaningful ROA from their Cloud investments. Brian Barnier, a risk advisor for ISACA concurs:

“In the cloud debate, the trump card will often be played by the business-line leader responsible for customer satisfaction and profitable revenue. To shape the solution, IT leaders can push aside the hype and broadly evaluate risk and return – through the eyes of the business. There are no cute tricks. It is about knowing the business.”

Cloudant Teams up with Rackspace Hosting for DaaS

Cloudant had coverage at DATAVERSITY in the past year for their DaaS offering aimed at the gaming industry as well as other business sectors. On December 13th, the company announced a new partnership poised to draw interest in the “as a Service” community. Cloudant is teaming up with hosting provider Rackspace for a NoSQL DBaaS product.

The service is available for mobile and web-based applications as part of Rackspace’s Cloud Tools program. Rackspace developers and users gain access to the Cloudant database technology as an application data layer with built-in scalability and an easy to use management interface.

Rackspace already offers its own DBaaS product, but it is based on a relational model using MySQL. Cloudant provides the company with NoSQL technology using a similar service model as Rackspace’s relational product.

Cloudant chief Derek Schoettle is excited about the new partnership, “Cloudant customers deploy highly distributed, data-intensive, real-time applications, which is an ideal fit with Rackspace open cloud’s global reach and tremendous performance.”

The Cloudant Data Layer provides a low latency, high availability service hosted on a variety of Rackspace data centers all over the world. For Rackspace customers currently using their MySQL-based data layer, this gives them the opportunity to try out NoSQL technology without switching providers. This is definitely a partnership to watch throughout 2013.

Cloud Data Encryption Becoming More Important

With the ISACA survey revealing many IT professionals’ worries about security on the public Cloud, it stands to reason that Cloud data encryption looks to grow in importance throughout 2013. Keeping Cloud data safe from hackers helps encourage new companies to explore Cloud-based DaaS products.

Two companies known for their work in data encryption are teaming up to provide Cloud-based application and data encryption services. Voltage Security and PerspecSys each bring their own skill set to this new partnership – the former’s Format-Preserving Encryption technology combined with the latter’s Cloud Data Protection Gateway.

Voltage’s encryption technology appears to be a nice fit on top of PerspecSys’s Cloud-based distribution platform. The companies hope their combined product attracts interest from enterprises hoping to safely enter the world of Cloud Computing.

Jeremy Stieglitz, vice president of business development at Voltage Security concurs, “For enterprise customers, identifying a secure and straightforward way to rapidly move to the cloud is a top priority, but they realize that some options in this marketplace are inherently insecure.”

Data Center as a Service provides the Merging of IT and Facilities

Related to the Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, is the data-focused Data Center as a Service, another product need created by enterprises wanting to move their data center operations to an externally provided Cloud-based environment. Rackspace and SoftLayer offer a somewhat similar model in their partnerships with Cloudant and 10gen respectively.

IO earned some attention in DATAVERSITY’s earlier article on the new wave of Data as a Service as one of the key DCaaS providers in the industry. The company was recently named one of the top places to work in Phoenix, and financial giant, Goldman Sachs, chose IO and their Data Center 2.0 infrastructure product as its global data center services provider.

Data professionals interested in learning more about where trend in DCaaS is headed in 2013 may be interested in an event titled, Datacenter Dynamics Converged. The conference is being held in New York on March 12 at the Marriott Marquis hotel. Covered subjects include a profile of the data center industry’s response after Hurricane Sandy as well as a discussion of the Data Center as a Service concept as an example of the continued merging of IT and facilities.

Database as a Service is a Still Maturing Technology

Despite the promise of Cloudant’s new partnership with Rackspace, Database as a Service is still a maturing technology. The security issues and new encryption products were talked about earlier in this article. Industry pundit, David Linthicum discussed a few points in InfoWorld that he feels may be holding the technology back.

Difficulty integrating internal and external data sources is one issue hampering further adoption of DBaaS, according to Linthicum, especially when the process involves the migration of large amounts of data. On the other hand, some may feel this creates an opportunity for data virtualization products.

Linthicum also agrees with the aforementioned security issues something scaring off potential consumers of DBaaS. In a similar manner, enterprises that handle data – like health or financial information – with its own set of requirements need to consider any regulatory issues that could arise with storing the data with an offsite DBaaS provider.

Ultimately, Linthicum feels all these issues shouldn’t cause companies not to consider DBaaS. They are only issues to take into account before deciding on an ultimate solution.

The Leading Cloud Databases

Network World just published a list of what they feel are the leading Cloud databases moving into 2013. They singled out Amazon’s line of Cloud-hosted databases, including DynamoDB on the NoSQL side of the ship, as well as Amazon Relational Database (RDS) for those desiring a more traditional model. RDS provides instances of MySQL, SQL Server or Oracle. Additionally, Amazon offers Amazon SimpleDB, a schema-less option suitable for smaller data sets.

EnterpriseDB is DBaaS that uses the open source PostgreSQL as its database. It also offers compatibility with Oracle database applications, a convenience for companies looking to move a legacy Oracle app to the Cloud. EnterpriseDB uses Amazon Web Services for its Cloud functionality.

Network World also mentioned Garantia Data. The two big technology guns, in Google and Microsoft, saw mention of their DBaaS offerings – Mircosoft’s SQL Server running on Azure, and Google’s Cloud-based MySQL clone known as Google Cloud SQL.

MongoLab is an interesting product that somewhat mimics 10gen’s work with SoftLayer. MongoLab offers a Cloud-based instance of MongoDB on a variety of providers, including the previously mentioned Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Finally, SAP’s Hana is a worthy DBaaS. Hana leverages a memory cached persistence model and is available on the Cloud through Amazon Web Service.

2013 looks to be another year where Cloud-based facilities and database technologies continue to merge with the results increasingly adopted by enterprises. Options for relational and NoSQL databases are in abundance. There are still risks involved with the technology, especially with security, but the advantages of the Cloud outweigh any of the potential issues.

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