The Rise of the Data Platform in the 5G Era

At this point, saying there’s been an explosion of data over the last decade would be an understatement. Each year, enterprises collect and generate more data than ever before. Unfortunately, many are unable to unlock the full value of their data.

According to a recent report from Sea­gate and IDC, enterprise data will grow 42.2% annually over the next 2 years. But 68% of that data will go unused.

In large part, this is because many organizations are still relying on relational database management systems designed for a pre-streaming world. Such systems simply cannot meet today’s requirements around unstructured data, speed, and availability at scale. While NoSQL data­bases solve some of these problems, they don’t do so in an ACID-compliant way, rendering them inadequate for many organizations.

As data continues to take on an increas­ingly important role in every application, organizations need to start thinking about data differently than they have over the years. With 5G rollouts accelerating and edge computing and IoT devices taking on an increasingly integral role in the success of enterprises, these data problems will only get worse.

To succeed in this new frontier, orga­nizations will need to reimagine the data­base and what it’s capable of. They will also need to ask themselves this question: What if the database of the future isn’t even a database at all?

The Database of the Future is a Data Platform

In this day and age, performance mat­ters most. Whether you’re a customer-fac­ing organization, building software solu­tions for other businesses, or developing proprietary in-house tools, speed is the name of the game.

These days, the phrase “real time” is thrown around everywhere you look. Truth be told, most applications are sim­ply unable to deliver actual real-time experiences due to built-in latency issues. While applications might be able to serve up information in the same amount of time as it takes a baseball batter to react to a fastball, what happens when you’ve got 15 milliseconds of latency and a new SLA that requires you to make intelli­gent revenue-impacting decisions in 8 milliseconds?

Working at the speed of real time requires a data platform that is capable of maintaining state and taking decisions in one fell swoop—and at scale. RDBMSs were designed in the 1980s, and they sim­ply can’t scale to support thousands of transactions per second. While NoSQL platforms can work for some companies, eventual consistency doesn’t cut it for organizations that need to be ACID-com­pliant, such as telcos and financial services companies.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix: By bringing powerful processing and real-time deci­sioning to 5G networks, a data platform can solve for all of this.

The five reasons you need a data plat­form are:

1-Speed: Let’s say you have all the data in the world. If your decisioning engine is 60 milliseconds away and you need a decision in 3 milliseconds, what good does that do? None at all.

Succeeding in the 5G, edge-driven world requires unparalleled speed. More specifically, your applications need to be able to process data and make decisions in less than 10 milliseconds if you want to capitalize on real-time opportunities.

Leading data platforms support low-la­tency introspectable queues. What does this mean? Imagine that a video game maker has a firehose of data, and all that data needs to be processed and ultimately sent to a data lake for storage. Now, let’s say 0.5% of that data needs to be acted on immediately. This is the data that rep­resents in-app monetization opportuni­ties that can only be capitalized on in that instant. For example, a video game might prompt players to buy virtual goods at the time they’re most likely to want them due to gameplay context.

Quite simply, old-school database systems are incapable of handling this volume of data and processing it quickly enough to make the most of such oppor­tunities. On the other hand, with an ACID-compliant data platform in place, data processing is instantaneous, and companies can easily maximize these opportunities.

2-Agility: In addition to speed, organiza­tions need to operate with agility. That way, when consumer sentiments shift rapidly, they are in a position to pivot quickly. When you’re relying on a leg­acy database, you’re stuck, and you have next-to-zero operational agility. It’s that simple.

3-Simplicity: Speed and simplicity go hand in hand. The more complicated the stack, the more internal latency there is—which makes it harder to take advantage of the sub-10 millisecond opportunities you just read about.

As the pace of development accelerates and more apps are built with microser­vices, it’s important to simplify the stack. After all, it’s not uncommon for different microservices for the same app to have dif­ferent architectures and different underly­ing databases.

Not only is this an inefficient approach, but what happens when members of the team leave and nobody’s really sure exactly how a microservice works?

A leading data platform brings simplic­ity to all of your applications. The more simple your architecture is, the easier it is to meet requirements around perfor­mance and agility.

4-Scalability: According to Statista, the average American household had 10 devices in 2020. It’s likely that this num­ber will only increase as time goes on. This growth—coupled with the rise in non-human identities such as bots, Lambda functions, and other execut­able pieces of code—presents an obvi­ous reality: Eventually, networks will be filled with limitless traffic. In the IoT, edge-driven age, there is no limit to how many devices any individual can own and operate, either directly or indirectly.

Organizations need to prepare for this reality and manage it effectively and accu­rately. By moving to a data platform, you can protect your networks and ensure you make the best decisions at tremendous scale—even when those decisions are made without a human in the loop.

5-Reliability: With massive volumes of data coming in every second of every day, applications need high levels of reli­ability in order to get the best results. The moment you stop processing streaming data is the moment you start building up a backlog—making it impossible to make the necessary rapid-fire decisions today’s market requires.

That being the case, enterprises need to build on top of data platforms that are designed to keep applications online even when servers go down with built-in fault tolerance. That way, it’s possible to make lightning-fast decisions while ensuring superior user experiences in most conceiv­able scenarios.

NewSQL: The Backbone of a Robust Data Platform

Winning in the 5G era requires the speed, performance, and consistency that traditional databases simply can’t deliver at scale. As such, success starts with rethinking the way you view databases— and embracing the new paradigm of the data platform instead.

Unless you’re building a social media platform or a service that doesn’t require ACID compliance—use cases that are increasingly rare as other vendors seek to retrofit databases with consideration to ACID properties—you need to look beyond RDBMS and NoSQL solutions and invest in a NewSQL data platform instead.

What this boils down to is that NewSQL is the only technology designed to accom­modate the speed, scalability, and reli­ability today’s applications require in an ACID-compliant way. By taking a proactive stance on the importance of rapid decision making, flexibility, and scalability today, you can future-proof your applications—and operations—by building on top of a data platform that’s designed for the mod­ern world and capable of data ingestion to action in under 10 milliseconds. That’s the new demand and the new reality.