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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Three Data Infrastructure Trends to Watch This Year

From an industry finally moving to the cloud to SQL’s return as the dominant standard, here are the trends to look forward to in 2023.

Data infrastructure is taking center stage in the IT space. Whether it is the modernization of data warehouse appliances or the implementation of true multicloud strategies -- enterprises are pushing the envelope of database and cloud offerings.

For Further Reading:

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How Heavily Regulated Industries Can Migrate Sensitive Data Workloads to the Cloud

3 Ways NoSQL Can Be Part of Your Data Architecture

In the current economic climate with the prospect of a serious recession on the horizon, the efficiency and price-performance ratio of data systems are central to every enterprise. Leveraging cloud and finding turnkey replacements for legacy infrastructure are poised to have immediate impact on budgets and the financial well-being of IT organizations.

Let’s take a look at the most important trends for 2023 that will likely dominate the landscape of data management.

Trend #1: Everybody will “go cloud” -- even the financial services industry

In early 2022, when asked just how important the public cloud was for his organization, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon famously stated, “If we can spend $2 billion more and get to the cloud tomorrow, I would do that in a second.”

Of all industry sectors, the financial services industry has held out the longest in staying with their data centers, and for good reason. Their data centers are basically highly developed private clouds -- tricked out technology playgrounds optimized for select use cases.

However, by now, the public cloud has simply out-innovated its private cloud counterpart. Economies of scale and fierce competition between providers have resulted in lower pricing, much to customers’ delight.

That banks are finally pushing into the cloud is testament to the fact that data management in the public cloud is unmatched and managed cloud databases present an incredibly powerful ROI.

Counter to common belief, most enterprises are still holding off from moving their data crown jewels to the cloud. However, we are clearly approaching a tipping point. The early adopters are already moving -- and everybody else will too, soon, as 2023 shapes up to be the year of the cloud database.

Trend #2: The SQL-fication of everything will continue

Remember when SQL became the whipping boy (literally) of the century. An entire movement of developers, data engineers, and vendors adopted “No SQL!” as their rallying cry and gave the world NoSQL databases.

Fast forward a decade and you’ll notice that effectively every NoSQL database, at least that is still alive, provides now an SQL or SQL-like interface. That’s because without SQL, these systems are hard to use. They require their customers to employ software developers to manage the data instead of letting business users query it.

Ease-of-use and the efficiency of production systems are the technical reasons for the reversal of this trend. However, there’s an even more practical motivation: without a SQL interface, taking on and replacing incumbent vendors is usually a non-starter.

Not surprisingly, then, 2023 might well be the year that marks the beginning of the end of NoSQL as a competitor or an alternative to more traditional databases. Instead, the mainstream might just incorporate any valuable features of NoSQL systems.

If you think you’ve seen this movie before, you’re right: object-orientation, semistructured data and XML, and time series are just a few examples of similarly popular trends that positioned themselves as a revolution and promised the end of the database as we know it -- just before mainstream database technology swallowed them.

Trend #3: The search for real democratization will continue as data use cases explode

Data silos and the proliferation of database systems are ever-growing problems. Enterprises constantly face this dilemma: staying with established vendors bears the risk of falling behind on the innovation curve, yet taking up new technology rapidly creates disjointed data silos that are hard to reconcile later on.

The problem is exacerbated with ever-faster rates of data production and analysis, Business units find it harder to exchange data with each other and may incur additional cost and resource requirements to move data between units.

The problem is well understood; however, all solutions so far leave a lot to be desired. Recently, one database vendor made sharing of data a core ingredient of their product offering. A single-vendor data platform is not only overly simplistic, though, it puts the enterprise at increased risk as customers give up leverage when committing to a single vendor.

The space is littered with other approaches too, such as data virtualization. The fact that the problem remains unsolved means these solutions are either incomplete or simply impractical in a production setting.

As we go into 2023, enterprises will continue their quest for interchangeability and interoperability of systems. The fast-paced dynamics of public cloud guarantees to further accelerate this dynamic.

Charging Ahead

This year may be the long-anticipated tipping point when enterprises move even their most mission-critical data to the cloud and enter a cycle of accelerated innovation and productivity. Exciting times are ahead.

About the Author

Mike Waas is the founder and CEO of Datometry, a SaaS database virtualization platform enabling existing applications to run natively on modern cloud data management systems without being rewritten. Mike has held senior engineering positions at Microsoft, Amazon, EMC, and Pivotal and is the architect of Greenplum’s ORCA query optimizer. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications in various areas of database research and holds over 50 patents. You can reach the author via LinkedIn.

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