Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, David Paquette, Olivier Huynh Van, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

@CloudExpo | Embrace #DBaaS to Speed Up Mobile App Development

The question for a company isn’t if they need to deploy mobile applications, but how to do it most effectively

By

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:

  1. 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
  2. The horizontally scaling architectures of these database engines can easily grow to match user demand
  3. 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)
  4. 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.

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@CloudExpo Stories
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Most of us already know that adopting new cloud applications can boost a business’s productivity by enabling organizations to be more agile and ready to change course in our fast-moving and connected digital world. But the rapid adoption of cloud apps and services also brings with it profound security threats, including visibility and control challenges that aren’t present in traditional on-premises environments. At the same time, the cloud – because of its interconnected, flexible and adaptable...
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.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, discussed how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved efficienc...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, 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. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CDS Global Cloud, an Infrastructure as a Service provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CDS Global Cloud is an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider specializing in solutions for e-commerce, internet gaming, online education and other internet applications. With a growing number of data centers and network points around the world, ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...