Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, Eric Robertson, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: IBM Cloud, @CloudExpo

IBM Cloud: Blog Post

Databases in the Cloud

Cloud computing is such a fascinating topic because ...

Cloud computing is such a fascinating topic because, to anybody who can get enough distance from the marketing hype, it really represents a significant departure from the way the software and the hardware industry have been operating in the last decades. In fact, cloud computing is to the traditional IT industry what the Internet has been to the music and film industry: an unwelcome and very threatening development dictating completely different business models.

The basic technical premises behind cloud computing are known since many years. Already in the 80's, as the number of computers around constantly increased, it did not take long until people realized many of them were idle for most of time. The result was the first cluster management tools capable of moving simple jobs between machines. From there, the advances in networking during the 90's brought Grid Computing and then the large computer farms behind the Web brought what we now call Cloud Computing. On the software side, a similar development took place over the years going from monolithic designs to multi-tier architectures and from tightly coupled systems to service oriented architectures. Add virtualization, and all the basic tools for building computing clouds are in place.

Whether Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), there are many examples out there of services that work well; make economic sense to all parties involved; and are destined to grow both in the number of users as well as in the functionality they provide. This, however, does not seem to be the case for databases. At least not for databases containing important data.

This is an interesting observation since, technically, there is nothing that prevents databases from residing in the cloud. To understand the complex relation between databases and the cloud, one needs to understand the complex chain of problems that need to be solved before a database with important data resides in the cloud. These problems are: 

- legal aspects of where the data resides

- long term custody warranties

- trust in the cloud

If the data residing in a database is of any real value to anybody except a small group of individuals, it is likely that there are many regulations imposing a wide variety of constraints on where the data can be, who can look at it, and whether it can be moved anywhere. For instance, in federal countries, local governments often have legislation imposing that the data must be stored within the region. At larger scale, it seems unlikely that a country would agree to have government data stored in a different country. In the private sector, many software development outsourcing efforts have failed because of the difficulty to provide realistic data for testing without giving any confidential information away. And if the database stays where it is, it is unlikely that the software stack built on top of it will move to the cloud.

Assuming there is a cloud in the vicinity that fulfills all the locality requirements, the next hurdle is the legal custodian warranties imposed on data. Important and relevant data must be by law available and searchable for long periods of time, often many decades. Clouds cannot provide such guarantees today and, in this matter, the IT industry has never dealt with such time horizons before.

Finally, even there is a cloud in the proper place that guarantees that it will stay there for the nest 50 years, the question that remains is whether it can be trusted to do so. What happens to the data if the cloud simply disappears? Replication makes the location problem even more difficult and it certainly does not help to reduce the cost of the cloud. It also does not solve the problem of a company simply shutting down the service. Without very strong, enforceable guarantees -as it happens in other branches of industry that are critical to the economy - there will be not enough trust to move databases with important data into a commercial cloud.

Does this imply that we will never see databases in the cloud? Not at all. However, the clouds were important databases will reside might be different from the commercial ones that are attracting so much attention these days.

First, the clouds where databases may live very comfortably will be private clouds. Governments, for instance, are likely to own (or contract) such clouds to offer cloud services to the public sector. Second, community clouds linking the private clouds of partner companies are also likely to be common since they spread the costs among several participants while still giving access to more resources that anyone of them directly owns. Being a federation of private clouds, they are easier to protect, organize under well defined contractual agreements, and to tailor to the particular application by using, e.g., application aware networks. Third, public clouds will be used not necessarily for storing the data but for scalability and processing purposes in all those cases where parts of the data can be safely brought into the open. For instance, a company can keep the confidential data within the private cloud but place databases with copies of the publicly available data on a public cloud. By keeping the master copy of the data, the company takes advantage of the public cloud for scalability but can make sure all regulations are followed in house using conventional solutions.

The challenges to bring databases into the cloud are both technical and regulatory. Until the regulatory problems are solved -and that may take a long time- the key to putting databases into the cloud will be to have infrastructures that give users flexibility and complete control over the databases and the data inside, regardless of the type of cloud used. If users can easily create copies of their databases or part of their databases and place those into the cloud; can guarantee that they have within their premises a consistent copy of the data at all times; and can take advantage of the cloud to reduce the costs of provisioning, scaling out, and adding functionality to their data management systems, then databases will move to the cloud. If all these chores are not provided through automatic tools, the overhead, costs, and risks involved will be too high to justify moving enterprise class databases to the cloud.

More Stories By Maximilian Ahrens

Ahrens is an expert and frequent speaker on international conferences for service oriented architecture and virtualization. Before co-founding Zimory, he served as a project manager and research scientist at the innovation development entity of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories. Responsible for infrastructure and enterprise IT projects spanning multiple divisions of the Deutsche Telekom group -- Ahrens is an expert on enterprise IT and business processes. Before Deutsche Telekom, he led several business process reengineering projects for major German companies. Ahrens received his degree in computer science and business administration from Technische Universität Berlin.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.