CloudExpo: Databases Absent

I just got back from CloudExpo East 2010. I had a wonderful time visiting NYC, meeting new people, and reconnecting with some old friends. Here’s my take on the state of cloud databases and Database as a Service (DbaaS) from the show.

Where are the Cloud Databases

Unfortunately, I didn’t run across anything substantially new about cloud databases and DbaaS at the show. One would have thought, with Oracle being the primary sponsor of the show, something interesting on the database front would have emerged from either the sessions or the show floor, but nothing new caught my attention. Here’s a quick rundown of the database-oriented things I ran into.

Oracle’s Lack of Cloud Innovation

In my opinion, Oracle made a couple of non-announcements about their less than innovative cloud computing strategy. They re-launched the two year old BEA WebLogic Virtual Edition product after porting it to work on Oracle VM, as well as a virtual machine assembly builder for Oracle VM. Does anyone even use Oracle VM? I asked around and couldn’t find anyone that would admit so. If you want to read more of my opinions about Oracle and their keynote session, including links to more information about these “cloud” products, please see my other blog at The Cloud View.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft also had a significant presence at the show. There was a strong emphasis on Azure, including the data services that are part of their platform as a service (PaaS) offering. I applaud Microsoft for their efforts to be a major player in the cloud computing space.

At a related dinner engagement, I spoke with a major services partner of Microsoft and asked how many clients were interested in Azure. To my surprise, the answer was zero. Personally, I think that Azure has great promise, and expect things to change very soon.

Sidebar: If you know my background as a former Oracle employee, you might think I got mixed up when I wrote the previous two sections. But with respect to cloud computing innovation, Oracle and Microsoft are 180 degrees different: Oracle is doing all marketing, Microsoft is doing some real work.

Did the NoSQL Databases Get Lost in Jersey?

The only real presence for the NoSQL cloud database crowd was a SimpleDB information sheet on the table at the Amazon Web Services booth. Google BigTable, CouchDB, MongoDB, and all the others in this jet set were no shows. Too bad, as I think that cloud scalable databases are an important trend to keep an eye on.

SOASTA and Cloud Performance Testing

Dan Bartow of SOASTA made some great points about the need to test your production environment or else you won’t know how the cloud performs under stress. In other words, you can’t truly simulate the production cloud environment in an on-premise local lab. I focus a lot of my work on performance tuning, and fully appreciate and agree with Dan’s points.

Virtualization and Databases Don’t Mix

In another session I attended, an Enteros representative showed test data indicating that a DB2 relational database with significant I/O requirements operates one third less efficiently on top of a hypervisor relative to a non-virtualized counterpart. I’d think that most seasoned database professionals already know this, but the lesson is, run traditional big-iron databases like DB2 and Oracle on a dedicated host for optimal I/O performance.

Note: There was a “presentation” from Sybase about databases and virtualization. I’ll leave it at that and be nice.


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