The growth of data, and its variety and velocity, is a double edged sword. On one hand, no business can risk ignoring the intelligence that lies within their data and on the other, they must invest in new ways to manage their data. The flood of data is crippling the existing database management systems (DBMS). Not only is the nature of data changing, but there is radical change in business processes too. There is no escaping the fact that there is an urgent need to transform data platforms. Database vendors are coming up with solutions in the form of sophisticated, fully-loaded data appliances, pre-packaged with OS, database management systems (DBMS), memory, storage, analytical engines, services and support. The fact that these boxes place the data in close proximity to the analytical engines ensures that the data does not need to be shipped and time cycles are reduced.
Although more expensive than traditional relational database management systems (RDBMS), data appliances offer an effective solution to the data problem. However, the very cost of these appliances is also forcing organizations to migrate their data from one platform to another platform either on premise or to cloud based solutions. In these instances, organizations are wary of migration. They think it is too risky, it will require in house expertise (that is scarce) or it will result in down time that is hazardous to the business. These concerns are valid - to different extents but they cannot become barriers to what is inevitable transformation.
The focus of an organization should instead be on asking the question, "Am I a candidate for transformation?" You are, if your goals include:
- Application/ Business Platform Transformation: The existing hardware may not scale to needs and may require transformation
- Consolidating multiple database(s): When you have hundreds of instances of databases running, you may want to consolidate them in one big box, thereby reducing the resources required for support
- Application/ Database migration from one database into another database: As an example, business logic may dictate that all SQL serves now move to Oracle - or the other way around
- Optimizing licenses/ support costs for existing databases: A business may decide to move from Oracle to SQL or open source to bring down costs
- Consolidating business processes:This may entail rationalizing applications such as SAP or Salesforce across the organization all of which have underlying data that will need to be moved
The key is to see if you fit into any of the above. The rest depends on how you plan and execute the migration of data to new systems. Speaking to experts in database transformation should be your first step. A quick conversation will help understand how to engineer a safe, secure and controlled transformation that actually ends up providing you a better handle on your data. But can you avoid the eventuality? We think not.