|By Bob Gourley||
|August 27, 2014 09:15 AM EDT||
As enterprises work to rapidly embrace the mobile revolution, both for their workforce and to engage more deeply with their customers, the pressure is on for IT to support the tools needed by their application developers. Mobile application developers are working with a massive variety of technologies and platforms, but one trend that stands out is the rapid adoption of NoSQL database engines and the use of Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) platforms and services to run them.
Gartner has predicted that by 2017, 20% of enterprises will have their own internal mobile app store, meaning that enterprises are deploying both commercial and custom applications to their workforce at increasing speeds. There’s no denying the massive growth in mobile applications within the enterprise.
As for consumers, Portio Research claims that the worldwide mobile app user-base stood at almost 1.2 billion at the end of 2012 (and forecasts a nearly 30% CAGR through 2017). That growth is driving a many enterprises to put customer mobile experience front and center in their marketing and customer service plans. Users are now expecting to interact with a company through their mobile devices.
The question for a company isn’t if they need to deploy mobile applications, but how to do it most effectively. An on-premises Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) platform, that supports a variety of NoSQL database technologies, can help your enterprise quickly respond to the challenge.
Mobile Causes Significant Issues for Data Services
Enterprise applications are largely about data: accessing data from anywhere and performing transactions that effect data. This is true for both consumer applications and workforce applications. While many of the lessons we have learned from our web-based systems apply to mobile apps, there are some interesting new challenges in the way that we manage our data.
Latency – First and foremost, mobile apps need to be designed for highly latent network environments. While some interactions may be over wifi, its very likely that your users will end up trying to complete some critical transaction at a time when their device is either struggling to get a cellular signal or dealing with traffic congestion on the carrier’s network.
Scaling – Next is the problem of scale. Mobile applications, especially customer-focused, are hopefully being deployed to increase customer engagement with your company. This increase in usage leads to increased demands on your backend systems. You need to be prepared for this by choosing architectures that will be able to rapidly scale as use grows. This is true up and down the stack, but particularly true for your database layer.
Agility – Successful mobile experiences require rapid feedback loops. The applications need to evolve as you receive feedback from your users, taking the form of both enhancements and whole new features. With that demand for agility comes a significant concern about how to handle rapid data model changes.
Multiple App Versions – If a mobile application is successful, mobile app developers quickly find that they are required to support multiple versions of the application. This is where the demands placed on your data model due to the need for agility are compounded. Especially for customers, it’s simply not acceptable to frequently drop support for the previous version(s) of your app. Your data management strategy needs to account for this multi-model reality from the start.
The Rationale for NoSQL Databases in a Mobile App World
Relational databases remain the most used database type within the enterprise today, but mobile application developers are frequently selecting a document-centric NoSQL database engine, such as MongoDB and Couchbase, to be the heart of their application’s backend infrastructure.
The reasons for this frequent choice is due to the architectural traits of these database systems. While there are always many ways to engineer around a particular problem, and each NoSQL database engine certainly has its own pros and cons to consider, some of the features common to many NoSQL database engines directly address the issues that mobile application developers are facing:
- Document-centric data access can reduce the effects of latency by reducing the time it takes for the back-end system to return a complex data structure
- The horizontally scaling architectures of these database engines can easily grow to match user demand
- Embracing lightweight data representations like JSON documents can make app dev agility much easier, especially if the document format can be easily consumed on a variety of platforms (different mobile development frameworks and even for the company’s standard website)
- Schema-less database design makes supporting multiple versions of your applications easier for the developers
The Operational Perspective
After a development team has made the choice of their preferred database engine, the next question for an organization is how they will operationally support this new data service. Operations teams are being challenged to quickly implement the required database environment in a way that will both meet the needs of the application development team and meets their own need to ensuring that the production environment lives up to the promise the company is making to it’s users.
Although these challenges are shared by non-mobile systems, mobile applications force operations teams to confront the following issues:
Operationalization of New Technologies – Many corporate IT departments simply don’t have experience in their DBA organization with NoSQL database engines, and the explosion in the number of applications they are supporting is continuing to grow.
Data Locality – The operational perspective for mobile applications needs to always consider questions of data locality. The deployment architecture needs to ensure that the data is in a secure location and that the application’s server-side systems are as close to the data storage as possible to help eliminate as much back-end latency as possible.
Resiliency and Availability – If mobile is about increasing user engagement, then there is an implicit promise being made to those users that the service will always be there when they need it. Operations teams need to ensure that they are able to achieve SLAs far greater than the typical internal system has to achieve.
How On-Premises (or Hybrid) DBaaS Helps
How does Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) fit into all of this? DBaaS solves a number of challenges for both the operations team and the application developers. Further, a DBaaS platform that supports multiple database technologies and choice of infrastructure deployment targets gives both groups significant benefits.
A multi-Cloud, multi-engine DBaaS platform can provide:
Infrastructure Choice – Both the latency and data locality considerations can be addressed by a sufficiently robust DBaaS platform, by allowing application owners (devs and / or ops) to deploy database services into whatever infrastructure is most appropriate for that specific service. For example, developers could deploy dev/test systems into a public cloud environment, while the production version of the application can be deployed into a private cloud (or even bare-metal server farm).
Database Engine Choice – Giving application development teams a chance to select from multiple database technologies doesn’t have to be a point of stress for the operations team. DBaaS platforms enable this choice, while giving the operations team an automated provisioning and management tool that provides a consistent high quality operational experience for the diverse environment.
New Technology Operationalization – As new database technologies rise to prominence, and are embraced by developers, operations teams should be in a position to bring these new technologies into their environment easily. By using a DBaaS platform, the operations team gets the benefit of reducing their training burden for each new technology, and the developers benefit from getting access to new technologies faster than could be otherwise achieved.
Support for both NoSQL and Relational Databases – While many mobile applications will be built on top of NoSQL database engines, some will be built on relational databases. DBaaS can allow the organization to support both types of data services.
Enable Agility – DBaaS provides some powerful automation functions that can make life much easier for an application development and operations team. By aligning the database management processes with the application delivery model, teams will reduce friction in the app delivery pipeline.
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 241
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 483
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 411
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 348
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 416
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:30 PM EST Reads: 423
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 29, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 525
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 29, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 324
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Nov. 29, 2015 11:30 AM EST Reads: 272
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Nov. 29, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 201
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Nov. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 451
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 218
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 ...
Nov. 29, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 272
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 375
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 555
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 460
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 484
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 597
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 427
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:30 AM EST Reads: 502