7 truths about data in the cloud

Fresh from the IBM acquisition, Cloudant CEO Derek Schoettle offers his take on how the migration of data to the cloud is changing IT

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4. It's the end of the beginning for NoSQL
Though NoSQL has been criticized over the past couple of years, data scientists, architects, and traditional IT departments will get over the perceived risk of the alternatives to relational data stores. Companies will move in droves to leverage the ease and simplicity of the schema-less approach to building data-rich Web and mobile applications. NoSQL is not as immature as many think -- it's an established group of database technologies, and even Gartner is helping to educate IT decision makers on the benefits of eventual consistency and how it can be a far more powerful and cost-effective option to traditional strong-consistency models.

5. The data layer becomes the cloud operating system
With the high availability of network, compute, and storage, the real value in the cloud economy is the data generated by systems and applications. There are so many ways to take advantage of this data, and that's where companies should focus. They no longer have to educate themselves on the latest innovations in switching, storage subsystems, file systems, chip sets, and operating systems.

Where is your data stored? How available is it for your users? Can it scale with ease and affordability? Is it optimized for my application?

These are the questions companies are asking themselves, and more and more companies are realizing there is not a significant return for making all of these decisions for themselves. Their real value is focusing on the decisions around their application and how to leverage the data generated. In the future, all of these hardware and server decisions will be wrapped up into the data layer, much like an OS, so companies can focus on their core business.

6. IaaS is a commodity with increasing price pressure
As evident from Oracle's move to build up its cloud service to take on Amazon and others, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) really is being treated as a low-margin commodity. In 2014 the provider market will thin out, and to survive the thinning, providers will need not only a massive balance sheet, but also an expertise in building and operating Internet-scale services. Customers want their service providers to innovate and take ownership of more decisions, not less, so providers will be expected to compete with differentiated services.

This trend is already taking hold. CenturyLink recently acquired Tier 3 to complement the company's IaaS capabilities in an effort to become a more complete platform for app developers. Inversely, IBM already had an extensive software portfolio, but acquired SoftLayer to extend its cloud computing infrastructure and data center footprint.

7. "Do it yourself" will be questioned more frequently
The decision-makers of 2014 and beyond will understand the benefits of working with a specialized service provider, far more than they ever have in the past. Business and technical leaders must ask themselves if they are spending time and valuable resources on aspects of their business that will drive differentiation and value, or if their time is being detracted from these core competencies.

We're already seeing DBaaS becoming validated as the driving force in the adoption of NoSQL, with the DBaaS market expected to grow from 22.1 percent of NoSQL revenue today, to 61.2 percent in 2016, according to 451 Research. My team and I are excited about playing an important role in this evolution and seeing what the data layer becomes over the next couple years.

I'm curious which of these assertions you agree with and which you don't. Share your feedback in the comments below.

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