According to recent research, 34% of companies have already undergone a digital transformation. And of those who haven’t, 31% are planning to introduce a digital transformation program within the next 12 months. With workloads moving to the cloud at an unprecedented rate, organizations are increasingly discovering the limits of on-premises infrastructure and the benefits of various “as-a-service” offerings, with Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) among them. DBaaS facilitates digital transformation and provides dramatic improvements in everything from elasticity to security, and this article discusses the key role it plays in digital transformation.
Digital Transformation and Its Requirements
Digital transformation involves the digitalization of assets as well as the continuous modification of existing systems to take full advantage of state-of-the-art technologies. Organizations that decide to embark on a digital transformation journey must figure out how to deal with the massive amount of data coming from a variety of sources. Without a suitable data management strategy, organizations can’t expect to succeed in digital transformation and meet its requirements of flexibility, scalability, and integration.
Until all interactions with traditional relational database systems were coming from employees at headquarters, everything was great. But with organizations competing on a global stage and relying on a wide array of cloud services, databases must move from centralized or regional data architectures to truly global architectures. Large organizations that stand at the forefront of digital transformation have already begun the move, and Gartner believes that 75 percent of all databases will be on a cloud platform by 2023.
The mass-migration of databases to the cloud wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for DBaaS, which allows organizations of all sizes to reap the numerous benefits of the cloud without having to worry about setting up physical hardware, installing software, or configuring for performance—something that’s too big of a task for many smaller organizations with limited resources.
What is Database as a Service (DBaaS)?
DBaaS can be defined as a cloud computing service model that provides users with some form of access to a database without the need for setting up physical hardware, installing software, or configuring for performance.
Drawing on its experience and expertise, a third-party service provider enables users to provision, manage, consume, configure, and operate database software using a common set of abstractions. Users don’t have to worry about the exact implementations of those abstractions, which leads to major improvements in productivity. This can help organizations that want to be up and running quickly keep their on-site infrastructure and IT staff investment costs down. It can also help organizations that are struggling with hiring and keeping expert IT teams, as the service provider shoulders that burden for them.
Benefits of Database as a Service
The benefits of DBaaS largely overlap with the benefits of other “as-a-service” models, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). They include operational simplicity, guaranteed reliability, improved performance, better security, and developer agility.
The overarching goal of any digital transformation effort should be to make things simpler—not more complex. Traditionally, managing databases is a formidable task that requires the skills of database professionals, who are becoming very hard to find due to the ongoing IT skills shortage, which is expected to get much worse. Because legacy database systems were built for a completely different era, they don’t handle well the myriad of new data sources organizations deal with today.
DBaaS solutions from providers like Microsoft, Google and Amazon, make it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud, providing cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching and backups.
Most organizations that have undergone digital transformation see data as digital oil that’s fueling their business and allowing them to reach their objectives. Storing this data in a reliable database is critical because when the database is down, many things stop working, and the entire organization may even come to a standstill.
The providers of DBaaS solutions take reliability very seriously, and they achieve it with automatic database backups, replication of data across multiple instances, and continuous infrastructure optimization. Since they can leverage economies of scale, their customers get to enjoy the same level of reliability that would cost them a small fortune to achieve with on-premises architecture.
To meet the dynamic nature of business workloads, it’s important to have the ability to grow and shrink the capacity of a given database, both in terms of compute power and storage size. Cloud databases meet the demand for elasticity because they can be provisioned almost instantly, replicated with the push of a button, and scaled as needed with zero downtime.
Most organizations today can’t get by with a single database technology. Instead, they use a diverse range of database technologies, each of which can require different security considerations. While achievable with enough resources, database security is one of those tasks that’s best left to a third party whose in-house expertise and experience can help organizations fill gaps and save time.
“DBaaS solutions allow IT organizations to ensure application reliability, performance and data security no matter what database solution is in use, without requiring that the IT organization or the developer team have deep knowledge of the finer points of each of the technologies,” says Frank Days, software CMO and startup advisor.
There are many steps involved in the traditional provisioning of databases, and developers today demand a certain level of agility that’s simply not achievable with an on-premises database, especially if the team is geographically dispersed. DBaaS standardizes the provisioning of databases so that a single person can consistently provision databases that are aligned with the best practices for that particular database and business. Even complex database operations are then a matter of a single API call since DBaaS abstracts the difficult parts, allowing developers to focus their time and energy on application development.
Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) has many advantages over on-premises databases, including guaranteed reliability, resource elasticity, better security, and developer agility, just to name a few. It’s because of these benefits that cloud-native databases are becoming an increasingly important component facilitating digital transformation. Although migration to DBaaS can be complex and difficult for organizations with limited IT-resources, expert solution providers like Vology are well positioned to step in and help drive digital transformation.