Database is not dead interview series - Dell

Matthew Johnston, General Manager,Systems & Information Management,
Asia-Pacific and Japan, Dell Software

DataStorageAsean: Is there a place for the relational database in this new world of unstructured and big data?
Matthew: Yes, relational databases absolutely have a place in such a world, especially in an enterprise’s IT organization. According to a 2015 Dell survey, while management of unstructured data will likely become more prevalent as advanced analytics initiatives continue to gain traction, structured data still makes up 75% of data under management for more than two-thirds of organizations. This means nearly one-third of organizations have yet to actively managing unstructured data at all. Relational databases are and continue to be an outstanding resource for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data quickly and efficiently, and in a mathematically consistent fashion. Moreover, because of the strategic nature and level of confidentiality involved with databases, most organizations prefer to keep them on-premise, in-control & within highly secured firewalls.
Even as relational databases continue to evolve to help deal with data growth challenges that traditional database types cannot address, we still expect businesses to continue supporting and investing in relational databases and relational database technologies. Relational and unstructured database types will co-exist in an increasingly hybrid data eco-system. Most businesses will then need to correlate these unstructured data sourced from the cloud or others to the relational database management system (RDBMS) data for meaningful analytics/prediction.

DataStorageAsean: How is cloud computing affecting the dbase market - should companies be thinking of moving all of their databases to the cloud?
Matthew: For most companies, we believe the right approach is to have a balance of databases living both in the cloud and on-premise. Public and private clouds certainly represents an area of great growth and long-term promise for the database market. As data centers continue to evolve, we expect companies to work toward finding an optimal balance of cloud and on-premises database solutions, ultimately resulting in a hybrid cloud approach whereby companies will manage both private and public cloud as one entity. Specific business use case, analytic requirements and cost ultimately dictates where data lives.
Companies that are concerned about high licensing/maintenance costs of RDBMS now have an option – OS (Open-Source) DMBS such as PostgreSQL, MySQL and others. These have matured and can be used on-premise. According to Gartner, “information leaders who opt for an OS DBMS licensing model can benefit from much lower costs than using a commercial model, even with today's hosted cloud and dbPaaS (database platform as a service) offerings.”

DataStorageAsean: How important is it these days for databases to have hooks into other products such as BI or even Big Data technologies?
Matthew: Building hooks or APIs into modern BI and big data platforms at both the data layer and the metadata layer is critical to the longevity of database ecosystems and accuracy of predictive/prescriptive analytics. Database platforms must continually evolve to support complex data ecosystems and increasingly sophisticated analytics initiatives. Databases that make this easier by providing deep integration with modern business intelligence and big data analytics platforms will thus be those that deliver the most value, especially as certain business intelligence and analytics platforms become standardized in their usage. The more hooks or APIs a database can deliver into the broader business intelligence and analytics ecosystem, the more utility and staying power if will have and the more complete it will be seen in the eyes of customers.

DataStorageAsean: What is the future for Relational Databases?
Matthew: Relational databases will never go away because of their critical role in organizations. We anticipate a hybrid and heterogeneous future for relational databases and the overall relational database market. New and evolving data types and analytic requirements will cause the need for new relational database technologies, forcing the industry vendors to continue innovating and evolving. Ultimately, with such a wide range of new and competing platforms on the market, customers will seek efficiency not by consolidating around a single database, as they may have in the past, but by instead by deploying the best platform for each of their specific business and analytic use cases. This will lead to a world in which relational database technologies increasingly co-exist with their noSQL counterparts.
With the proliferation of multiple types of RDMBS within a single organization, a Master Data Management (MDM) system will ensure they are bounded under the same policies as companies transform into a data-driven organization. According to IDC, this transformation will see the Asia-Pacific market for big data-related infrastructure, software, and services cross US$48.6 billion in revenues by 2019, growing at over 23% annual clip between now and then.

DataStorageAsean: What is unique about your own company's database offerings?

Matthew: What makes Dell and its database management offerings unique is our agnostic approach and focus on all data. Structured or unstructured, on-premises or off, Dell supports all data across all platforms. We don’t have a database platform of our own on which we must focus all of our time, energy, and development resources. Instead, we’ve developed technology solutions that are heterogeneous and data agnostic in nature, and we’ve forged customer-focused technology partnerships spanning the entire data ecosystem. This approach enables us to meet customers where they are and help them get where they want to go next by providing solutions to better manage data and information, and achieve sophisticated and actionable analytic insight regardless of the platform or platforms in use.  
In addition, Dell’s engineered solutions delivers a new approach required in today’s competitive, data-intensive world for instantaneous access to results obtained from disparate data. For example, both of Dell’s SAP HANA and Dell’s Acceleration Appliances for Database (DAAD) solutions are database agnostic and dramatically increases the availability and speed of business information. Dell’s SAP HANA solutions are also available in both single server and larger scale-out configurations designed for business continuity.

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