All about Cloud Computing databases


Simply put, a database is a collection of data. Likewise, databases have been around for as long as computers have existed (even a simple hard drive is an example of a database). However, what gives form and shape to any database is not necessarily its “container” or housing, but rather its organizational structure. In other words, it is the way that operating systems, applications, and stored data are organized that truly provides higher functionality to any database. Cloud computing is certainly not exempt from this either; you could argue that a cloud’s database is the most important element in the system, as it often contains all other crucial components (OS, virtualization, apps, etc…).

A cloud computing database isn’t really that different from any other, however, that might soon change. You see, with any database, there will be a great deal more instances where data is read, accessed or delivered than those where new information is written or uploaded. Cloud computing databases are certainly no exception; their “reads” still heavily outweigh their “writes”. But given the nature of cloud computing, what it seeks to achieve and how it is being used, there is much more data writing occurring than ever before. Just think of all the social media sites out there which connect directly, and sometimes indirectly, to any number of clouds / databases. Sure, data that’s uploaded to these databases will be viewed many more times than it’s written, but should be noted that the technology has allowed for a great deal more uploads than ever before. The demands of cloud users seem to be having a significant effect on the way information is arranged in databases.

At the end of the day there are basically two concerns which any database must contend with (from the user’s point of view):

  1. Accuracy of data (status)
  2. Speed and fluidity with which it is delivered

It is absolutely crucial that information which is available via search queries be up-to-date at any given time (this is of course, a no-brainer). If data is not being updated correctly it highlights a problem with the way it is stored or being accessed. For example, all retain-driven businesses that rely on internet-based sales absolutely must have accurate data for customers to peruse, failure to provide such information translates directly into lost sales.

Additionally, data must be accessed quickly, eve across extensive databases. This is one of the big problems facing cloud computing, actually. Just think about all the data that hits a cloud from one or more social media sites on a daily basis, much of it being interconnected in numerous ways. As the size and scale of your average cloud grows (often across multiple server farms in several areas), it is becoming increasingly challenging to quickly locate and deliver specific data packets. The reason for this is once again, organization.

If data is stored across multiple servers (as is usually the case) queuing up a search will have to make its way through or past a number of other machines. The end result of this multi-system transit is degraded performance. In other words, every time a data partition is encountered, conventional wisdom would state that performance is negatively affected. Some of the major cloud computing players like Amazon have taken to replicated tables as a potential solution for this quandary, which is used in their SimpleDB solution. Replicated tables offers an alternative to traditional indexing and even takes geographical positioning and limitations into consideration as well. Arguably, the best solution is the “Shared-disk database”, which creates a central repository that’s devoid of the need for partitioning. Under this model, everything seems to function much better, especially when cloud computing is added to the equation; increased elasticity too is supported.

The technology and methods of constructing and managing cloud databases are increasing day-by-day. While there are certainly some very serious challenges facing cloud providers in this regard, it’s somewhat comforting to know that there are solutions on the table which are not only capable, but flexible as well. In the coming years it will be very interesting to see what organizations like Google, Microsoft and Amazon come up with regards to database requirements for Cloud Computing infrastructure.

Will your organization really be able to leverage the power of the cloud?
The truth is, cloud computing is taking over.  It’s not only social media, government, academia or personal email however, cloud computing is also becoming a major player in the world of business (small, medium and large). The fact of the matter is that the technologies of the cloud open the door to certain possibilities which never before existed. The scalability of the cloud gives even tiny businesses the ability to perform titanic feats; the question is, are you prepared to adapt and utilize the technology? Perhaps you’re wondering, why should I focus on cloud computing adoption? Well, aside from what it offers you directly, there’s the issue of your major competitors. In other words, when your competition begins using cloud computing to “get a leg up on you”, will it be too late? It doesn’t have to be that way however, all you need to do is look into Cloud Computing e-learning and certification. The truth is, your IT personnel should be studying, training and/or taking steps to become certified in one or more cloud computing disciplines (right now). Get educated, get in the game.

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