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April 14, 2021

Developers Display Grace Under Pressure During Pandemic

George Leopold

(Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock)

Digital architects are mostly holding their own under pandemic-induced pressure to get projects out the door faster despite persistent data infrastructure gaps, according to a vendor survey that also concludes COVID-19 disruptions may ultimately accelerate digital initiatives.

Couchbase, the edge NoSQL database specialist, said it recently polled 450 data architects across the U.S., U.K. and western Europe to gauge the pandemic’s impact on data-driven workflows.

“COVID-19 has undoubtedly propelled organizations’ adoption of new technologies and services forward—underpinned by architects’ expertise,” the Couchbase survey concludes.

Still, the pandemic has only added to the pressure faced by developers. Nearly half of those polled by Couchbase said they are under “high or extremely high pressure” to deliver digital projects. An equal number, 48 percent, nevertheless reported they rose to the occasion, deploying digital projects in production, uninterrupted by the pandemic.

Most vendor surveys make the case for whatever wares they are offering. The Couchbase poll follows that recipe, noting that a majority of respondents are hindered by legacy technologies, including outdated database and cloud infrastructure.

For example, 61 percent of those polled said reliance on legacy relational databases is hampering digital initiatives. A slightly higher percentage said they would reduce dependence on legacy database technology over the next year. Others said relational databases are so tightly integrated with existing IT infrastructure that “rip and replace” strategies remain a non-starter.

Indeed, deployments of cloud database management systems have surged over the last several years as on-premise becomes “the new legacy.” The Couchbase survey found that 37 percent of organizations it polled have increased public cloud usage over the past year, with hybrid cloud deployments not far behind. Meanwhile, 27 percent have expanded use database services in the cloud in the last 12 months. (see chart).

Source: Couchbase

Couchbase, Santa Clara, Calif., recently launched its cloud database service on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The platform is built around Couchbase Server, a managed service installed in customers’ virtual private clouds.

Those and other cloud database technologies are promoted as digital enablers of cloud computing, big data analytics and, depending on region, AI development. For example, moving on-premise databases to the cloud was cited by 65 percent of respondents as “indispensable” in meeting development goals.

One reason is the emergence of cloud databases as managed services, thereby advancing data analytics, edge computing and Internet of Things deployments. Demand for those digital services have soared during the pandemic, the survey notes.

“Transformation starts with modernizing data infrastructure and then fixing the application stack above it, which isn’t for the faint of heart,” Couchbase CTO Ravi Mayuram said in releasing the survey results. “Last year was a once-in-a-generation event, and [digital] architects are thriving in meeting the demands placed on them.”

As the pace of digitization quickens, others also make the case for data-driven architectures.

“With so many infrastructure requirements changing, the data-driven enterprise requires a new information architecture to achieve digital transformation,” noted John Ottman, executive chairman at data management specialist Solix Technologies.

“This new information architecture ingests any data, uses object storage to store bulk data at the lowest cost and scales horizontally on clusters of commodity infrastructure.” The resulting architecture must be “real-time since data loses value so fast as it ages,” Ottman added.

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