Data as a Service, at Your Service

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Whether it’s DaaS, DBaaS, or BDaaS, these concepts represent new ways of thinking about data. “Just 5 years ago, DaaS and DBaaS were nascent technologies with severe limitations,” said Dada. “Today, they are comprehensive offerings that take over management overhead for IT professionals,” he continued. “There are few reasons why an IT professional would want to manage their own database in the cloud instead of using a DBaaS solution. Also, storage gateways have made it easier to take advantage of DaaS for backup and archive storage.”

DaaS’s benefits go deep, particularly in increased business agility or business speed. “Quite simply, businesses get to avoid a very time-consuming and costly process of building infrastructure and can simply consume it as a service as they need it,” said Ashish Thusoo, CEO and co-founder of Qubole. “The next benefit is moving toward a data-driven business model. Some service offerings are designed to be self-service, such that they can reduce or decouple the number of employees it takes to drive insights from data. Some of these companies have seen customers move from a one-to-two ratio of data administrators to data analysts to one-to-hundreds with certain data as a service models.”

DaaS and DBaaS “spans across the performance need spectrum,” said Shannon Snowden, senior technical architect at Zerto. “We see low-risk testing and development workloads all the way to advanced data mining and business intelligence functionality running in the public cloud.

Traditional ERP, healthcare, and financial workloads tend to be harder to mobilize and in general, the best workloads for the cloud are not spread across multiple virtual machines, aren’t database heavy, don’t normally have terabytes of data, and are not depended on by multiple other applications. These difficult applications are being replaced and will continue to be phased out in favor of cloud-friendly, internally rewritten alternatives or will be replaced by software as a service offerings. Either way, the data is likely to reside in a cloud in the future.”


With the rise of data as a service and cloud-based databases, no workloads are off limits, and they may in fact be handled more effectively than with on-premises systems. “There is really no limit,” said McNabb, noting that the cloud offers “an elastic platform that can handle an unlimited number of users, enterprise applications, mobile applications, or even run games.”

Industry observers are optimistic that cloud will be the platform of choice for most workloads. “In a few years, I believe that two-thirds of all workloads will run in the cloud,” said Daryl Stanbery, vice president of analytic services at Hitachi Data Systems. “Enterprise customers are taking a measured approach, creating an enterprise class infrastructure using standard components from cloud providers tied together using APIs and other orchestration services. This year, there will be more convergence around three major public cloud computing companies: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.”

While file storage and collaboration workloads were first to the cloud, other types of data workloads are coming on fast, from log aggregation and analysis to cloud BI and even business process management, said Yishai Beeri, director of cybersecurity research for CloudLock. “I’ve seen many large organizations that do store entire databases in the cloud, with Amazon Web Services clearly the leading choice, and growing rapidly.” He added that the challenge is not so much the storage but who has access and how that access is managed. “At the end of the day, the platform provider is secure and spends countless resources to make it so, but there is an admin, who manages the system, the database and the access points; there are also users who access and work with data,” he stated. “Users make mistakes and their accounts can be compromised. That is the weak point, and this is why a crushing majority of recent attacks hinge on targeted phishing. It’s all about the users—ensuring their accounts are secure and that they are educated on the importance of maintaining that level of security.”

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