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Why Companies Are Turning to Database Virtualization Amid Market Uncertainty

With IT facing growing pressure to migrate legacy systems to the cloud, database virtualization (DBV) is proving to be a valuable tool in the process.

A arecent Fortune survey found that over 80 percent of CEOs are preparing for an impending recession. Although the shape and depth of this downturn are still subject to discussion, many large enterprises have already shifted into high gear to cut costs wherever they can.

For Further Reading:

Executive Q&A: Data Virtualization and the Use Cases of Today and Tomorrow

Benefits and Best Practices for Data Virtualization in the Real World

Leveraging Data Virtualization for Digital Transformation

In all of this, IT is a critical cost center. Its budget seems to be always one of the first to attract scrutiny in times of crisis. The cost of databases has risen over the past several years as businesses have explored more ways to leverage data across all departments.

To no one’s surprise, IT leaders are now tasked with reining in the cost of their data infrastructure. By now, everybody agrees that cloud databases offer a great opportunity to move to a more scalable and flexible model that can react quickly to market demands and result in cost savings when the economy contracts; the cloud also helps an enterprise make sure it is ready to scale quickly when markets recover.

However, moving business users -- and their workloads -- to the cloud is no easy feat. As a matter of fact, it might well be one of the most challenging problems in all of IT. There is a reason migrations are considered the bane of the industry.

This is where database virtualization (DBV) comes in. DBV is a powerful catalyst that lets IT move between database stacks and take up new technology, but also lets them shed legacy systems that are turning into an organizational liability. A DBV platform sits in the data path and translates SQL and API calls in real time. Simply put, with DBV, applications written for one database can run directly using a different database without a costly, drawn out, and highly risk-laden migration.

Let’s examine how DBV can act as both tactical “pain relief” and a strategic enabler for future data projects.

Accelerate Database Migrations

Practically every CIO is currently looking to move key data assets from legacy systems to cloud databases. Of all the databases in an organization, legacy appliances are currently highest on the radar of upper management. Appliances represent a bygone era and are no longer defensible in the times of public clouds.

From conversations with IT leaders, we gather they intend to shut off 90 percent of appliances over the next decade and move the workloads to the cloud. At least that’s the plan -- and it is an ambitious one to say the least. Migrating these high-end workloads to cloud databases is an incredibly tough problem.

This is the killer application for DBV. With DBV, enterprises move from on premises to the cloud in about a tenth of the time of a conventional migration, at about 15 percent of the cost and without the risk. On average, customers see savings of between $35M to $120M over five years by using DBV. ]

Optimize Workloads

Data management in the cloud is developing rapidly, meaning cloud databases today are distinctly superior to the systems available just a year ago. Even within a product line, the advancements are considerable.

This poses quite a conundrum for cloud migrations. At the end of the day, every conventional migration is a compromise between moving quickly with a hard deadline and taking the time to optimize for the target platform. Suffice it to say, time always wins out over optimality. Even in the best case, though, the rapidly shifting ground means any conventional migration is effectively out-of-date by the time it is complete.

With DBV, enterprises can escape this trap and leverage the DBV platform to convert and optimize workloads and take advantage of the latest developments in the cloud. Because DBV does not translate a workload at a fixed point in time but instead translates it dynamically in real time, simply upgrading the DBV platform unlocks new cloud technology continuously.

Consolidate Database Stacks

Although database migrations are a hot button issue right now, savvy IT leaders already have their sights set on the next opportunity. Consider the evolution of other fields of virtualization for a moment. Initially virtual machines (VMs) enabled workloads that were not considered mission-critical, such as QA and development tasks. Yet, VMs quickly turned into a magic wand of consolidation and efficiency. Fast forward 20 years and VMs are the technology that enabled cloud computing and are indispensable in the modern enterprise.

Taking a page from the VM playbook, it isn’t difficult to see how consolidation is the next application scenario for DBV. In Fortune 500 or Global 2000 firms, IT is overstretched with supporting tens or even hundreds of kinds of databases -- across thousands of database instances. Many IT shops often have to support database systems that have been on life-support for decades already.

With DBV, IT can consolidate different legacy stacks to a small and manageable fleet of different databases and increase the efficiency of IT, and with it the efficiency of their entire organization.

Now Is the Time

Heeding the words of Winston Churchill to “never let a crisis go to waste,” IT leaders worldwide are using the growing uncertainty in the markets to migrate from legacy systems. DBV challenges them to rethink their approach to database migrations. Instead of embarking on multiyear projects, they can put migration projects behind them in a matter of months using DBV.

DBV not only accelerates the move but can become an important building block for a data infrastructure that is more flexible and efficient than conventional approaches. With DBV, IT can solve both the challenge to consolidate and cut costs now while setting itself up for growth and expansion during market recovery.

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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