9 technologies for a supercharged 2014

Get to know the database and PaaS technologies that will run the enterprise in 2014

Enough with worthless 2014 predictions. We can't control what the rest of the world will do -- but we are the captains of our own fate. In case you hadn't heard, 2014 is the year we stop talking and start doing in earnest. IMHO, here's the stuff you should be rolling out.

1. Document databases
IT develops lots of systems that basically consist of writing data structures to structured storage, while requiring high concurrency. Document databases have been around for decades, and IT knew one as Lotus Domino's Notes Storage Facility, but the NoSQL and big data revolution has sparked new interest. MongoDB and Couchbase are the leaders.

2. Key-value stores
Sometimes you have what amounts to a really giant table that could fit in memory, if only you could get enough memory. Well, if you have a grid, you can put the table in memory distributed across multiple boxes to make writes faster. If it's a smaller table that's read-mostly, you can replicate it across all nodes so that reads are a memory thing. Either way, key-value stores deserve a loop on your toolbelt. Nearly all key-value stores allow you to create custom cache loader or cache stores to read/write to an RDBMS or another source. Many allow you to "write behind" or queue writes to the database. The leaders in the space areCouchbaseMemcachedInfinispan, and GemFire.

3. Graph databases
From recommendation engines to social networks to geographic analysis to evenbioanalytics, graph databases give you more bang for the buck. Friend-of-a-friend queries are not too efficient in the traditional RDBMS, even with all of the latest features, because the structure is still wrong. While graph databases have been around for decades, the recent data explosion and interest in personalization has made them more popular. Check out Neo4j and Apache Giraph.

4. Google Drive/Apps
Google Apps is the office productivity suite for this millenium. I can't imagine going back to emailing attachments. Recently we've been automating more and more with JavaScript-based macros. Everything is stored in the cloud and backed up by the NSA, so we sleep confidently. Moreover, extensibility features mean that as we move to a world where our apps are cloud, we'll be able to directly integrate our documents with them and vice versa. That said, doing business with Google gives me pause, as the company supports lobbying organizations whose claims to fame include writing homophobia into my state's constitution or perpetuating climate change denial. Apparently, the Googlers don't think such actions are evil.

5. On-premises search
I still run into people who actually compose massive and/or/like queries in SQL. Get with it -- not only does this result in horrible performance, but also terribly unclear code and usually a user-hostile interface. Elasticsearch has been catching fire, and I'm seeing it everywhere. Think of it as Google for your own data, whether it resides in the database, documents, or various file systems.Apache Solr is worth looking into, as well.

6. Platform as a service (PaaS)
Whether you're going to the public cloud or deploying your own private cloud, hand-installing each operating system, application server, and application, then selecting the number of servers or VMs you'll deploy it to in advance is so last decade. PaaS is the way to go. Scale just-in-time and automate away repetitive tasks. Platforms we've worked with extensively include CloudFoundry,CloudBees, and OpenShift.

7. Cloud IDEs
Recently we were cleaning out a closet and my nine-year-old didn't know what was the big, metal box thing he couldn't lift. "What is it?" we asked him from the other room. "I don't know, it's some Dell thing." We realized he genuinely didn't know what a tower computer was since I've used laptops for his entire life (though he would've recognized a 1U server from seeing them at my work for Hadoop testing). I think cloud IDEs offer promise that the next generation won't know what a laptop is. Why install an IDE on a hard disk? Why not just open a browser and start coding with, say, Codenvy or Cloud9, especially if you're deploying to a PaaS anyhow?

8. Hadoop
Whether you use MapReduce for complex analytics or simply want to make log analysis and audit logs a fire-and-forget-oh-just-write-it-quickly event, Hadoopis a monster that's set the industry on fire. If you haven't at least put out a pilot project, this is the year to do so. If you've already dipped your toe in, I expect you'll jump in fully this coming year.

9. Clustered/distributed file systems
From Gluster to HDFS, scalable storage is the thing. This is the year your SAN gets a rethink. At the very least, it's time for a pilot if you haven't done one already. I predict a lot of hybrid approaches in the meantime.

This article, "9 technologies for a supercharged 2014," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest news in application development and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.