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Google Cloud Strategy, Hybrid and Multicloud, Google Cloud Leadership, Databases

Key Insights From the Cloud Database Report, Cloud Wars

By Sabina Bhasin | April 5, 2021


In the premiere edition of the Cloud Database Report, John Foley lays the foundation for his ongoing coverage and analysis of the cloud database market - the vendors, cloud database platforms, emerging technologies, trends, and business use cases.

"The traditional database market is quickly morphing into the cloud database market, and it's a game-changer not just for the tech industry, but for developers, database managers, data scientists, business users, and the entire data ecosystem," Foley wrote.

Foley, a veteran reporter covering all things tech and cloud, provides the in-depth analysis as well as weekly news and insights published on CloudWars.co.

Why cover Cloud databases? 

Easy. They're on the rise, as Foley points out: 

  • Gartner estimates that 75% of all databases will be deployed or migrated to the cloud by 2022.

  • Snowflake reported revenue growth of 115%, to $148.5 million, in Q3 of FY2021, compared to a year ago. 

  • AWS's Aurora database is the fastest-growing service in the history of AWS. 

"The pace of change in data management is accelerating, both because more data than ever is being generated and because business and IT decision-makers are keenly aware that "big data" represents tremendous value if they are able to capitalize on it," Foley wrote. "Their goal is to gain insights and drive innovation and actions - product development, customer acquisition, supply chain execution, sales."

Subscribe to the Cloud Database Report for free here


Key Insights From The Inaugural Issue

The first issue covered a lot, so we break it down for you here. But, don't forget to subscribe to also gain all the insights that Foley tirelessly pens. 

Insight 1: The Cloud Database Report creates a new Top 20 List for Cloud Database Providers

The Cloud Database Report has identified 20 cloud database providers that, in their analysis, are the leaders. They represent a cross-section of the market - the incumbents, the cloud service providers, and the challengers. 

They used four criteria in choosing the Cloud Database Top 20: 

  1. Enterprise capabilities. Vendors with a complete range of services and support that enterprises may want or need. Fully-managed services are a plus. 

  2. Platform adaptability. Tools, services, and APIs for data integration/migration and application compatibility are must-haves. 

  3. Innovation. A steady pipeline of new, modern, differentiating capabilities. 

  4. Demonstrated business value. Customer success is the #1 proof point. 

Take a look at the full Top 20 list here, the top five are as follows: 

  1. AWS

  2. Cloudera

  3. Cockroach Labs

  4. Crunchbase

  5. Databricks

Insight 2: It's not easy to uproot installed databases or vendors.

"Conventional wisdom has it that "old guard" vendors like Oracle, IBM, and Teradata, which have been selling database systems for 30-plus years, are vulnerable to being displaced by newer, cloud-native technologies," Foley wrote. 

But, it's not easy to change. Even though, as Foley writes, Snowflake is going after AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud, they all want a piece of Oracle's established customer base. And Oracle, according to Larry Ellison, is in a class of its own and isn't going down without a fight. 

Insight 3: Cloud database startups are driving innovation. 

"With new products and business models, startups like Teradata, once the epitome of an on-premises data warehouse vendor, recently announced the availability of its cloud data analytics platform, Teradata Vantage."

You can find it on Microsoft's and Google Cloud's marketplaces, it creates added support for more data sources, and also introduced a free cloud trial of Vantage. 

Insight 4: Google Cloud leans in the direction of purpose-built databases.

As Foley writes in his report:

"Google's Cloud Bigtable excels at high-scale analytics and operational workloads, while Firestore is a NoSQL document database for new applications. 

"Most developers do not say, 'I want one database for everything,'" Google Cloud director of product management for databases, Kelly Stirman, told me in a briefing for this report. A particular database may be ideal for one application, but not well suited for others, he said. "I don't think you can engineer one database that serves all of them well."

That said, Google's Cloud SQL and Cloud Spanner databases are capable of handling a widening array of workloads in the same way multi-model databases do."

As organizations expand their use of cloud service providers, creating an environment with a curated selection of vendors that best meet the overall needs, the trick is to avoid complexity. 

Insight 5: Create an adaptable cloud database architecture 

Foley wrote that it is "vitally important to reaping the benefits of the cloud database model without recreating the problems of the past. "

He identified four key capabilities: 

  • Hybrid. Few organizations are 100% cloud. The ability to connect existing, on-prem systems with the cloud database is a vital intersection point. This is IBM's big play in the market with its RedHat stack. Other vendors, including AWS and Oracle, are expanding their hybrid cloud offerings. 

  • Multicloud. The ability to share data and connect databases across clouds is a practical requirement, and there are strategic benefits as well, such as being able to operate in the cloud of your customer's choosing. Google with Anthos and MongoDB with multicloud clusters are among those promoting multicloud as a differentiating capability.  

  • Multimodel. Many cloud databases support multiple data types, but they do not all support the same data types. It's important to assess strengths and weaknesses. 

  • Fully managed. Some cloud databases are self-managed by the user, some managed by the service provider, and a few such as Oracle Autonomous Database are fully automated. 

Using those capabilities, customers can evaluate the right architecture for their business. 

Foley ends his report with use cases. We recommend checking them out at CloudWars.co.



John Foley is founding editor of the Cloud Database Report. As a tech journalist at InformationWeek and other publications, he covered databases and enterprise software, open systems, analytics, and the cloud market. John also established and led editorial teams driving strategic communications at Oracle, IBM, and MongoDB.

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