Click here to close now.


Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston, Victoria Livschitz, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

@CloudExpo | Embrace #DBaaS to Speed Up Mobile App Development

The question for a company isn’t if they need to deploy mobile applications, but how to do it most effectively


As enterprises work to rapidly embrace the mobile revolution, both for their workforce and to engage more deeply with their customers, the pressure is on for IT to support the tools needed by their application developers. Mobile application developers are working with a massive variety of technologies and platforms, but one trend that stands out is the rapid adoption of NoSQL database engines and the use of Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) platforms and services to run them.

Gartner has predicted that by 2017, 20% of enterprises will have their own internal mobile app store, meaning that enterprises are deploying both commercial and custom applications to their workforce at increasing speeds. There’s no denying the massive growth in mobile applications within the enterprise.

As for consumers, Portio Research claims that the worldwide mobile app user-base stood at almost 1.2 billion at the end of 2012 (and forecasts a nearly 30% CAGR through 2017). That growth is driving a many enterprises to put customer mobile experience front and center in their marketing and customer service plans. Users are now expecting to interact with a company through their mobile devices.

The question for a company isn’t if they need to deploy mobile applications, but how to do it most effectively. An on-premises Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) platform, that supports a variety of NoSQL database technologies, can help your enterprise quickly respond to the challenge.

Mobile Causes Significant Issues for Data Services
Enterprise applications are largely about data: accessing data from anywhere and performing transactions that effect data. This is true for both consumer applications and workforce applications. While many of the lessons we have learned from our web-based systems apply to mobile apps, there are some interesting new challenges in the way that we manage our data.

Latency – First and foremost, mobile apps need to be designed for highly latent network environments. While some interactions may be over wifi, its very likely that your users will end up trying to complete some critical transaction at a time when their device is either struggling to get a cellular signal or dealing with traffic congestion on the carrier’s network.

Scaling – Next is the problem of scale. Mobile applications, especially customer-focused, are hopefully being deployed to increase customer engagement with your company. This increase in usage leads to increased demands on your backend systems. You need to be prepared for this by choosing architectures that will be able to rapidly scale as use grows. This is true up and down the stack, but particularly true for your database layer.

Agility – Successful mobile experiences require rapid feedback loops. The applications need to evolve as you receive feedback from your users, taking the form of both enhancements and whole new features. With that demand for agility comes a significant concern about how to handle rapid data model changes.

Multiple App Versions – If a mobile application is successful, mobile app developers quickly find that they are required to support multiple versions of the application. This is where the demands placed on your data model due to the need for agility are compounded. Especially for customers, it’s simply not acceptable to frequently drop support for the previous version(s) of your app. Your data management strategy needs to account for this multi-model reality from the start.

The Rationale for NoSQL Databases in a Mobile App World

Relational databases remain the most used database type within the enterprise today, but mobile application developers are frequently selecting a document-centric NoSQL database engine, such as MongoDB and Couchbase, to be the heart of their application’s backend infrastructure.

The reasons for this frequent choice is due to the architectural traits of these database systems. While there are always many ways to engineer around a particular problem, and each NoSQL database engine certainly has its own pros and cons to consider, some of the features common to many NoSQL database engines directly address the issues that mobile application developers are facing:

  1. Document-centric data access can reduce the effects of latency by reducing the time it takes for the back-end system to return a complex data structure
  2. The horizontally scaling architectures of these database engines can easily grow to match user demand
  3. Embracing lightweight data representations like JSON documents can make app dev agility much easier, especially if the document format can be easily consumed on a variety of platforms (different mobile development frameworks and even for the company’s standard website)
  4. Schema-less database design makes supporting multiple versions of your applications easier for the developers

The Operational Perspective

After a development team has made the choice of their preferred database engine, the next question for an organization is how they will operationally support this new data service. Operations teams are being challenged to quickly implement the required database environment in a way that will both meet the needs of the application development team and meets their own need to ensuring that the production environment lives up to the promise the company is making to it’s users.

Although these challenges are shared by non-mobile systems, mobile applications force operations teams to confront the following issues:

Operationalization of New Technologies – Many corporate IT departments simply don’t have experience in their DBA organization with NoSQL database engines, and the explosion in the number of applications they are supporting is continuing to grow.

Data Locality – The operational perspective for mobile applications needs to always consider questions of data locality. The deployment architecture needs to ensure that the data is in a secure location and that the application’s server-side systems are as close to the data storage as possible to help eliminate as much back-end latency as possible.

Resiliency and Availability – If mobile is about increasing user engagement, then there is an implicit promise being made to those users that the service will always be there when they need it. Operations teams need to ensure that they are able to achieve SLAs far greater than the typical internal system has to achieve.

How On-Premises (or Hybrid) DBaaS Helps

How does Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) fit into all of this? DBaaS solves a number of challenges for both the operations team and the application developers. Further, a DBaaS platform that supports multiple database technologies and choice of infrastructure deployment targets gives both groups significant benefits.

A multi-Cloud, multi-engine DBaaS platform can provide:

Infrastructure Choice – Both the latency and data locality considerations can be addressed by a sufficiently robust DBaaS platform, by allowing application owners (devs and / or ops) to deploy database services into whatever infrastructure is most appropriate for that specific service. For example, developers could deploy dev/test systems into a public cloud environment, while the production version of the application can be deployed into a private cloud (or even bare-metal server farm).

Database Engine Choice – Giving application development teams a chance to select from multiple database technologies doesn’t have to be a point of stress for the operations team. DBaaS platforms enable this choice, while giving the operations team an automated provisioning and management tool that provides a consistent high quality operational experience for the diverse environment.

New Technology Operationalization – As new database technologies rise to prominence, and are embraced by developers, operations teams should be in a position to bring these new technologies into their environment easily. By using a DBaaS platform, the operations team gets the benefit of reducing their training burden for each new technology, and the developers benefit from getting access to new technologies faster than could be otherwise achieved.

Support for both NoSQL and Relational Databases – While many mobile applications will be built on top of NoSQL database engines, some will be built on relational databases. DBaaS can allow the organization to support both types of data services.

Enable Agility – DBaaS provides some powerful automation functions that can make life much easier for an application development and operations team. By aligning the database management processes with the application delivery model, teams will reduce friction in the app delivery pipeline.

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

@ThingsExpo Stories
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...