Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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IBM Jumps on Bandwagon for Cloud Databases 

(Source: Shutterstock/Ton Snoei)

Responding to what it says is growing demand for deploying SQL databases in the cloud, IBM this week rolled out a transactional database as a service on its SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. The move reflects the steady advance of cloud-native data platforms along with a growing number of analytics and transaction databases provisioned in the cloud.

The company (NYSE: IBM) said its database dubbed "dashDB for transactions" is intended to streamline the scaling and management of an SQL database in the cloud. The release includes a bare metal version for enterprise workloads that includes 1 Tb of memory and 7 Tb of storage, the company announced on Tuesday (March 28).

The SQL database engine combines IBM's Netezza analytics engine with its DB2 relational database management system. Netezza combines data warehousing with in-database analytics to handle petascale data volumes. The company's DB2 database software targets transactional and analytical workloads. It runs on-premise and in the cloud on top of Linux, Unix or Windows.

The dashDB platform is compatible with DB2 drivers, a feature that would allow existing users to move their databases to the cloud. Along with Netezza, IBM said dashDB is "highly compatible" with databases from Oracle (NYSE: ORCL).

As with most cloud offerings, IBM touted the ability to launch its encrypted cloud SQL database in just a few clicks, eliminating the need for complex configuration or desktop tools often required to install and administer databases. Installation tools include an SQL editor.

Database encryption includes both on-disk for data "at rest" and Secure Socket Layer encryption for data in transit.

IBM's transactional database offering reflects the steady merger of database services with cloud and other datacenter infrastructure. Last month, for example, Israeli cloud infrastructure provider Stratoscale acquired Tesora Inc., a privately held database service vendor based in Cambridge, Mass. Stratoscale said the deal would boost its efforts to deliver public cloud connections on-premise while addressing growing demand for managed noSQL services along with relational database services from Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN).

Stratoscale's acquisition of Tesora underscores the industry trend toward shifting database provisioning to the cloud. For example, DataStax accelerated its cloud strategy late last year with its acquisition of DataScale, the Apache Spark and Cassandra hosting service launched in 2014. The company’s data store service ran on AWS and Microsoft Azure (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Recent industry surveys also have confirmed accelerating cloud database adoption, driven in part by cloud-native databases such as Amazon's Aurora and DynamoDB offerings along with cloud-native data platforms from Microsoft.

Seeking to catch that wave, IBM's new cloud database is available now on IBM Bluemix, the company's cloud development platform for launching applications and services. Along with transactions, IBM said its dashDB is also geared to general purpose and web workloads.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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