Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Radu Gheorghe, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

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
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
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...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
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 @...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, discussed how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy applica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
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...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...