Key Database Trends Now and for the Future

The world of data management and administration is rapidly changing as organizations digitally transform. In a presentation at Data Summit 2019, Craig S. Mullins, president & principal consultant, Mullins Consulting, Inc., looked at how database management systems are changing and adapting to modern IT needs.

In the presentation titled Database Trends 2020: The New World of Database Technologies, Mullins showed how cloud, analytics, data security, NoSQL, IoT and other trends are affecting DBAs and their roles within modern organizations.

These are some of the key trends that Mullins sees:

Data Growth

  • The global datasphere, a term coined by IDC to describe all of the data “out there” is projected to keep growing. IDC estimates that in 2025, the world will create and replicate 163ZB of data, representing a tenfold increase from the amount of data created in 2016. This hypergrowth is the outcome of an evolution of computing that goes back decades.
  • From 2005 to 2020, the digital universe grew by a factor of 300, from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes, or 40 trillion gigabytes (more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman, and child in 2020).
  • The database software market continues to grow: Dynamic DBMS (what IDC calls the NoSQL market) is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 30.9%. IDC still expects it to fall short of reaching 10% of total operational DBMS revenue by 2022.

Relational Versus NoSQL Versus Multimodel

  • Earlier with relational database or RDBMS, database administrators always relied on scaling upor buying bigger, expensive, multiple servers as database load increased rather than scaling out or distributing the database across multiple hosts. The new breed of NoSQL databases are designed to expand transparently and horizontally to take advantage of new nodes, and they’re usually designed with low-cost commodity hardware in mind. For NoSQL, servers can be added or removed from the data layer without application downtime.
  • Increasingly, vendors are marketing multimodel database systems: Single DBMS can manage data using different models including relational, NoSQL, etc.
  • Relational continues to dominate: IDC forecasts that relational DBs will still account for more than 80% of the total operational database market through 2022, and Gartner forecasts that through 2020, relational technology will continue to be used for at least 70% of new applications and projects.

Artificial Intelligence

  • According to Gartner, through 2020, 80% of AI projects will remain alchemy, run by wizards whose talents will not scale in the organization but through 2022, only 20% of analytic insights will deliver business outcomes. In addition, by 2022, 30% of organizations will use explainable AI models to build trust with business stakeholders, up from almost no usage today.


  • Organizations are increasingly adopting database in the cloud options. This includes things like the various AWS (amazon web services) options, as well as options from IBM (Cloudant, Db2 on the cloud), Oracle DBaaS, and Microsoft (Azure).
  • However, said Mullins, public cloud adoption will most likely be much lower than most predictions through 2022, and probably beyond. Why? Even if demand is high, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) can’t build out their infrastructure fast enough to support all the existing data center capacity “out there.”


  • According to Gartner: through 2020, lack of data science professionals will inhibit 75% of organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT. Furthermore, the number of online capable devices increased 31% from 2016 to 8.4 billion in 2017; and it is estimated that by 2020 the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects.

Data Security

  • IDC indicates that the amount of data to be managed will reach 40ZB by 2020. This represents a 50-fold growth in the 10-year period between 2010 to 2020. Yet, IDC states that only half of the information that should be protected is actually protected…

Regulatory Compliance

  • Regulatory mandates are growing. The California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, aims to provide California residents with the right to: Know what personal information is being collected about them; know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom; say no to the sale of personal information; access their personal information; and receive equal service and price, even if they exercise their privacy rights.

The Role of the DBA

  • Fewer DBAs are being asked to manage more data: Although more and more data is being stored and  accessed – as evidenced by the big data trend – that is not translating into additional DBAs being hired.
  • Many DBAs are tasked with managing multiple DBMSs and m ost DBAs are responsible for multiple databases from multiple vendors.
  • Most companies run multiple databases and are open to adding new database platforms if there is a need to do so fewer DBAs are being asked to manage more data.

Mullins and other presenters have made their slide decks available on the Data Summit 2019 website at