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Driving innovation in Asia Pacific with NoSQL

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The vast amount of data that requires rapid processing has drastically altered the needs of the modern enterprise, spurring them to adopt next generational technology like cloud-native databases to allow the development of modern applications.

Deb Dutta, General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, DataStax, talks to Enterprise IT News about the role that NoSQL plays.

EITN: What is NoSQL and what challenges does it solve for organisations that use relational databases?

Deb Dutta: Traditional relational databases that have typically dominated the market for the last 30 years were developed and built when data was static. These can no longer keep up with today’s demands, including a massive scale to meet digital demands. NoSQL (“not-only-SQL” or “non-SQL”) refers to non-relational databases which are designed to support cloud application requirements and overcome the scale, performance, data model and data distribution limitations of traditional relational databases (RDBMS). NoSQL, specifically open-source Apache Cassandra, was built for planetary-scale, but it was developed before its time. The world has finally caught up, and DataStax has made it easier than ever to build today’s game-changing applications on it.

According to IDC, developers and DevOps professionals continue to face route-to-market challenges as the demand for convenient and user-friendly applications is created and deployed at a faster rate. In Malaysia, data-driven spending is also on the rise.

A study by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead digital economy agency, showed that Malaysia’s big data market will grow from US$1.1 billion (RM4.5 billion) in 2021 to US$1.9 billion (RM7.89 billion) in 2025. Another report on artificial intelligence in Southeast Asia predicted that the proper adoption and implementation of AI could add US$115 billion to Malaysia’s GDP by 2030.

Despite this increased spending, DevOps teams are hindered by infrastructure challenges. NoSQL addresses the following challenges organisations that use relational databases are facing:

  • Flexibility – While extremely organised, SQL databases are extremely inflexible and difficult to modify. NoSQL databases were designed to be highly flexible and scalable, and aren’t limited to the table approach. With the explosion of data in volume, variety, and complexity today and in the coming years, NoSQL offers a sequel to SQL with a database solution that has the flexibility to handle all data types, structured and unstructured.
  • Scalability – One of the key differences between relational and NoSQL databases is scalability. The norm for relational databases is to scale up vertically. Capacity can only be expanded by increasing capabilities, such as RAM, CPU, and SSD, on the existing server or by migrating to a larger, more expensive one. On the other hand, NoSQL databases scale out horizontally. Rather than upgrading expensive hardware, they can cheaply expand by simply adding commodity servers or cloud instances.
  • Availability – With NoSQL, data is distributed across multiple servers and regions, so there is no single point of failure. As a result, NoSQL databases are more stable and resilient, with continuous availability and zero downtime.

A study by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia’s lead digital economy agency, showed that Malaysia’s big data market will grow from US$1.1 billion (RM4.5 billion) in 2021 to US$1.9 billion (RM7.89 billion) in 2025. Another report on artificial intelligence in Southeast Asia predicted that the proper adoption and implementation of AI could add US$115 billion to Malaysia’s GDP by 2030.

EITN: Why is it not easy to implement NoSQL systems into organisations?

Deb Dutta: NoSQL technology is disruptive, especially for organisations that come from the relational database world. Therefore, implementing NoSQL systems into organisations is a paradigm shift that challenges the status quo. In the Asia Pacific region, where relational databases dominate, companies may hesitate to implement NoSQL due to security, pricing, and technical expertise concerns. Today’s data-driven applications require scale, and NoSQL meets those requirements. However, Cassandra was traditionally difficult to use. DataStax has developed advanced APIs that enable today’s developers to build game-changing applications and bring them to market in record time.

EITN: Is NoSQL right for organisations in APAC?

Deb Dutta: There is rising demand for businesses in Asia to pursue agility and scalable development, and it is primarily spurred by demographics – a young and fast-growing population (60% of the world’s total), rising internet and social media usage (user penetration rate of 64.1%), the consumption of e-commerce, OTT video viewers, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and applications as well as big data analytics. As new technologies emerge and continue to shape societies, economies, and people’s lives, volumes of data are amassed and transacted from disparate collection points such as IoT devices or mobile devices at immense rates. The accumulation of vast data spurs demand for hosting mission-critical applications, performing data analytics, data storage, and the collection, processing and transmission of digital services.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the answer depends on organisations’ data environment and goals, NoSQL is right for the following organisations:

  • Organisations that deal with projects that require scale and large amounts of data, such as personalisation, user profile management, content management, mobile applications, Internet of Things, and so on. NoSQL technologies are the right option to cope with the complexity and volume of data needs. In Asia, enterprises recognise this and switch to cloud-based open-source NoSQL DBMS instead.
  • Organisations that deal with big data or are in fast-growing, non-traditional industries like Gaming, e-Commerce, and FinTech. Switching to NoSQL is the answer to accelerating innovation and speed to market.
  • Organisations that focus on building mobile-first applications, tackling security threats from outdated systems, lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), real-time insight to improve customer experience, integration with existing and new technologies, boosting performance, efficiency, and stability.

EITN: What role does it play in helping CIOs modernise their applications?

Deb Dutta:  The digitalisation journey that enterprises are embarking on, focuses on the ability to be flexible in their outreach to customers, audiences and businesses due to the nature of evolving market conditions. Remote and hybrid environments have forced businesses to pivot to new ways of working, practically overnight. This is evident by the rapid shift to the cloud from on-prem databases. The demanding pace to go-to-market is especially challenging for enterprises with legacy technology.

NoSQL helps CIOs modernise their applications by being an alternative solution that helps them innovate quickly and cope with the new challenges which lie ahead in the world of data and digital. Selecting the right infrastructure, tools, and cloud services that are purpose-built for modern-day applications and make development much easier at the same time is critical to business success.

When traditional RDBMS, with its apparent limitations, can no longer help, NoSQL is there to enable organisations to thrive. Migrating to new technology like NoSQL may sound daunting and involve work, but there’s no innovation without change. By developing a solid use case with a clear understanding of what organisations are trying to achieve as well as identifying the key architects and technical leads who can help organisations shape those processes and get the organisations on board, are all factors to a successful NoSQL project.

EITN: What is the relationship between DataStax solutions and NoSQL?

Deb Dutta: DataStax Astra DB is built on an open-source NoSQL database, Apache Cassandra. With applications that demand massive volumes of data and speed-to-market, NoSQL databases like Cassandra offer the scale, flexibility, efficiency, and availability to keep up with the speed and scale of innovation with a lower total cost of ownership due to cloud-based pay-as-you-grow pricing models.

NoSQL helps CIOs modernise their applications by being an alternative solution that helps them innovate quickly and cope with the new challenges which lie ahead in the world of data and digital. Selecting the right infrastructure, tools, and cloud services that are purpose-built for modern-day applications and make development much easier at the same time is critical to business success.

DataStax is the only company with an open stack that just works. It uniquely combines the power of Apache Cassandra™ (Astra DB) —the world’s most scalable database—with the advanced Apache Pulsar™ (Astra Streaming) streaming technology in a unified open stack delivered as a service on any cloud. Astra DB is also available through public cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud across the Asia Pacific region, offering a wide choice of cloud providers and APIs that developers want to work with.

With DataStax, any enterprise can mobilise real-time data and quickly build the smart, high-scale applications required to become a data-driven business. Hundreds of the world’s leading enterprises, including EndowUs, Macquarie Bank. StanChart, VerSe Innovations and more, rely on DataStax to unleash the power of real-time data to deliver the in-the-moment digital experiences that can win new markets and change industries.