Three Megatrends Transforming the Database Industry
From all of us at Clustrix, we wish you a Happy New Year!
2012 was a pivotal year for us. The number of customers using our leading scale-out SQL database built for Big Data applications tripled to make us a truly global business. Clustrix now powers web and mobile applications at the number one e-commerce companies in Japan and India (Rakuten and Flipkart, respectively), the number one online dating site in the world as rated by comScore (Twoo.com run by Massive Media), the number one photo sharing site in Europe (Photobox), and a host of innovative companies in gaming, online advertising, GPS tracking, and SaaS companies in education and healthcare.
Our customer base has a common thread: explosive scale in users and transactions accessing massive amounts of structured data. Every one of our customers has chosen Clustrix to successfully achieve this.
Despite all of the hype that Big Data ensures hidden insights by mining unstructured data with new data science (and lots of consultants), there is a fundamental challenge faced by thousands of companies – that of creating scale for the primary database (which holds critical business data) simply and without sacrificing the power and familiarity of SQL. Our focus at Clustrix is to address this challenge with a smart, scale-out relational database solution that blows away the misperception that SQL can’t scale in today’s database industry.
In 2013, there are three megatrends that we believe will fuel incredible growth in our target market.
Megatrend #1: It Isn’t Just How Big Your Data Is, It’s What You Do With It
In the Big Data rhetoric, we constantly hear how the volume, velocity, and variety of data is challenging. Frankly, when it comes to the primary database, we see customers struggling more with the volume, velocity, and variety of transactions. The reasons are simple – when a cloud-scale application becomes successful, it gets quickly overwhelmed with a high throughput (or high volume) of transactions. One customer of ours has grown from the thousands to the hundreds of billions of transactions a month in less than two years! When this happens, the interaction between the application logic and the database becomes difficult to predict, creating massive fluctuations in response time (or velocity). What’s even more intriguing? With success comes more creative application logic and user patterns that create a wide spectrum (or variety) of both simple and complex transactions. We continually see OLTP workloads that are mixed with online reporting and long-running analytic queries operating on the primary database – and much of the time this is a surprise to the DBAs who are trying to keep up with fast-paced developer innovation.
Personally, I believe we’re on the cusp of a web and mobile application gold rush in which the ability to scale quickly can make or break online casino canada a business. The database layer is the biggest, thorniest bottleneck capable of stopping those applications from growing – and there just isn”t enough time and database engineering talent in the world to tackle the complexities of volume, velocity, and variety of transactions without a smart database product.
Megatrend #2: The Cloud Shift from IaaS to DBaaS
In 2012, we saw the beginning of the commoditization wave for IaaS. With cloud providers embracing OpenStack – or an equivalent – to compete with AWS price structures, every major systems provider launched converged infrastructure platforms, which commoditized hardware infrastructures and viable production alternatives to VMware”s hypervisor at cloud providers. What does this mean in 2013? Customers will have a massive range of choices for IaaS. This will drive down entry-level prices and vendors will have to work hard to create key differentiations in their SLAs and network bandwidth.
As a necessity, cloud providers will look to the data management layer to create differentiation. High performance, elastic scalability, and continuous data availability are capabilities for which people will pay a premium – and especially so for applications that rapidly scale. So far, an SQL DBaaS offering for the primary database has been difficult to provide at reasonable margins due to the high operating costs of database engineering and the constant performance tuning required to run the database.
As an aside, development adoption of PaaS layers and frameworks (and associated PaaS offerings by cloud providers) creates a new challenge for the database. We see that this abstraction creates queries that aren”t highly tuned and sometimes pretty darn stupid about how they use the database. This can cause big, unwelcome surprises and poorly optimized database performance – yet another new challenge for DBAs or DBaaS providers.
This is the demand gap that creates a massive opportunity. If the SQL database has enough automation to take care of 90% of the database administration, both for day-to-day operations and rapid scale, a cloud provider can build a very attractive DBaaS business. This is even better if the SQL format is something well understood like MySQL.
The good news is that Clustrix does exactly that – super smart, self-managing automation, and SQL at scale. We enter 2013 with hosting partnerships that include Rackspace, GoGrid, Equinix, and BlueBox Group (with several more on the way), making Clustrix the first company to establish a price-competitive scale-out SQL database-as-a-service offering that cloud providers can run at decent margins. We’ve also seen some of our large customers use our product to create an on-premise private DBaaS, enabling a 90% reduction in TCO through the consolidation of their database farms.
Another side note: 2012 saw a lot of innovative DBaaS offerings for analytics, including scalable SQL data warehousing such as “Redshift” on Amazon Web Services. In 2013, we”ll likely see attempts to create scalable SQL OLTP solutions on AWS as well attempts to create solutions to address scale limitations of RDS.
Megatrend #3: Global Web and Mobile Boom
Having travelled extensively around the world in the last 12 years and observing something truly transformational take shape, the third megatrend is one that’s close to my heart.
Internet and mobile usage growth in India, China, Russia, Brazil, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia has outpaced usage growth in the U.S. and Western Europe – and it will continue to do so. Smart, motivated entrepreneurs who understand local markets, combined with ridiculously low capital requirements to start a new web or mobile venture (thanks to cloud economics and the ease-of-use of new application programming platforms), will enable thousands of scalable businesses to pop up virtually anywhere in the world. For instance, the India e-commerce market is expected to grow from US$1.6 billion in 2012 to US$8.8 billion in 2016 (Widger and Bahl, Forrester Research, August 2012), and that’s just in one country alone.
This growth can’t be created with the same capital-intensive investment and years of development that created Facebook, Amazon, or eBay. It has to be done in a fraction of time, with a fraction of the money, and with much less technical talent to engineer a new platform from scratch.
My fundamental belief is that a database product that is simple enough to be installed anywhere without specialized help, smart enough to run itself, and scalable enough to keep up with explosive growth is essential fuel for this global web and mobile boom. And doing it with SQL and with all the existing tools and knowledge available is the only viable way to build the primary database that holds the most critical data to run these new businesses.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts and enthusiasm for database industry growth opportunities in 2013. We wish you much success in the coming year.