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Embracing the New Enterprise IT: Cloud Databases

Big Data is changing the way companies store, analyze and access data

As infrastructure has grown and mainstream database vendors have tweaked the cloud service model to apply to their own niche, cloud database technology has become an increasingly possible alternative to on-premises databases. Cloud database services offer many of the same benefits of other cloud services: Reduced in-house maintenance and patching, increased free time for IT staff and database administrators, and outsourced 24/7 data management and recovery.

Background of Cloud Database Technology
Cloud databases operate similarly to other cloud offerings. The host owns the servers and databases, and rents databases to enterprises, which can purchase as much or as little space as they need. The underlying maintenance, upgrading and security monitoring are performed by the host, freeing up in-house personnel from time-intensive maintenance.

At present, cloud data models fall into two major categories: Those driven by SQL and those driven by a non-relational structure, NoSQL. The NoSQL databases scale better, but are less compatible with other applications, which were built around the SQL model. Using a SQL database in the cloud allows for easier interfacing with other applications, while it may have data constraints.

Big Data Accelerating Cloud Database Adoption
Big data
is changing the way companies store, analyze and access data, which spells changes for the underlying databases. No more are databases the purview of a couple of database administrators or programmers, and no longer are they types of information that must be stored in databases easy to fit into the traditional RDBMS schema. Traditional databases have become somewhat of a bottleneck for effectively organizing information. The cloud offers a larger holding pen for data and a means to free up data management and access from the relational model that has long been predominant.

Advantages of Using Cloud Database Technology
The advantages of cloud database technology parallel those of other cloud offerings and can apply to both small businesses that cannot afford the underlying infrastructure and large businesses looking to realize savings and grow capacity. Some of the many advantages that make cloud databases as a service (DaaS) attractive are:

  1. Reduced Capital Expenditure: When you use a cloud database, you no longer need to purchase and maintain the hardware, software and data center. The monthly access fees you pay cover these things and more, such as customer service, data backup, bandwidth, storage and security.
  2. Scalable Databases: The scalability of cloud databases is key to their attractiveness, as you only pay for the space you need. For businesses with peak seasons, cloud databases offer needed infrastructure when demand is high and a means to reduce expenses when demand tapers.
  3. Improved Organization and Aggregation: Databases spread across the enterprise can be consolidated into one large hosted cloud database, reducing database sprawl and making it easier for your employees to work with data.

Particularly for non-programmers, the cloud database's Web interface making it easier to work with data and manage the database. If data management is key to your enterprise operations, consider whether the flexibility of a SQL or NoSQL cloud-based DaaS makes sense. The growing availability of database as a service providers benefit consumers looking for convenient data management.

More Stories By Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop works in marketing and digital strategy for a technology startup. Her previous experience has included five years in enterprise and agency environments. She specializes in helping businesses learn about ways rapidly changing enterprise solutions, business strategies and technologies can refine organizational communication, improve customer experience and maximize co-created value with converged marketing strategies.

Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest.

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