Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Janakiram MSV, Yeshim Deniz, David H Deans, Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Cloud Database – Are You Prepared?

There are a lot of issues around data in the cloud

The ongoing saga of everything cloud is entertaining, if nothing else. I have a couple of areas of interest that aren’t really burning up the electrons, one of them is cloud databases. Let’s face it, while “the cloud” is interesting in an application sense, for IT it is relatively useless without the ability to access databases. Normally databases housed in your internal IT department. Of course internal “private” clouds will address much  of this issue, until they are readily available, we are faced with the reality that we have to find a solution we can trust to house data that is essential to our organization’s well being. There are a lot of issues around data in the cloud, I’m going to focus in on a couple that IT departments are trying to figure out – or should be.

  • Security – data access control and standards compliance
  • Security – physical/network control
  • Latency – how much impact will remote databases have on performance
  • Standards – how is data put into and gotten out of the database
  • Data Redemption – how do I get my data out if for any reason we stop doing business?

There’s a lot there, but it’s not nearly as long as the list could be if I was to dissect all of the services out there. For the record, any “cloud data solution” that includes the phrase “frees you from the restrictions of an RDBMS” or “develop applications without IT” are not considered here. My reasoning is simple, your organization holds a ton of critical and relevant data in RDBMS databases now, changing that is possible, but at least for the time being, these applications will be limited to business units or pretty small businesses. I am looking at the problem from the IT perspective. No doubt I missed some vendors – Cloud is the winner of 2010’s buzzword bingo after all, and I was just researching with my own resources.

And a final note, I have not gone and tried any of these databases. There just isn’t time to do that level of research for a blog post. So understand that I am working off of the web pages of these vendors. Still, the market is young enough that for many, you can tell what they’re about pretty reliably.

Of all of the products that I explored, I have to say that Caspio Bridge has done the most to resolve the security and standards issues. They are PCI and TRUSTe compliant, which speaks volumes. They offer SQL Server with an AJAX front end, and allow you to get the data out in a selection of formats that includes XML and CSV, which is “good enough” for the current state of cloud databases, I would think.

Then there is Dabble DB who has a disclaimer about HIPPA that is understandable and probably helps the lawyers sleep at night, but isn’t designed to win customers’ confidence:

Does Dabble DB® comply with HIPAA?

We cannot enter into any agreement above or beyond our existing privacy policy, and we cannot offer any guarantee about specific compliance with HIPAA or any applicable state law. It is the responsibility of the health care entity to determine whether Dabble DB® meets the requirements of HIPAA.

Both Microsoft’s SQL Azure and Oracle via AWS are solid DB offerings but offer little tangible in terms of security. They are very desirable in the sense that they offer their standard interfaces, making it pretty easy to adapt your applications to them, but both are relatively silent about security other than the role-based security built into their RDBMS, which is a bit disconcerting. Rackspace and Joyent both offer complete cloud solutions, and honestly these two providers do the best job of documenting what is available and how to use it. But again, they seem to miss the point that users care about the level of their security. Now granted, with so much documentation on their sites, I’m guessing there is more info there than I found about the security issues.

Truly, Oracle, Azure, and Rackspace are the ones you have the least to worry about where latency is concerned – these companies (actually Amazon in the case of Oracle) have huge, dispersed datacenters, and data redemption is pretty straight-forward from all four of the vendors mentioned in the last paragraph, simply because they use the databases we all use. Disclosure: We are partners with Oracle and Microsoft, but I assure you that their inclusion is based upon the fact that you have one or both running in your datacenter already, not because of our partnership.


WHAT’S THE POINT?

Well, you might be asking what the point of this blog is… And honestly I have had an interest in this topic for a while, but only now got the time to start research. I went into this thinking I would be sorely disappointed because no one was talking about the database where cloud is concerned. There are still serious issues – if you fall under HIPPA, can you put your data on someone else’s network? How about PCI? Do your execs believe that this other company will be as cautious with your data as your employees? What is the recourse if one of those other apps in the cloud gets into your space? Don’t ever let a cloud provider tell you it can’t happen. It can, they’re on the same network, often on the same physical hardware. But overall? I wasn’t at all disappointed. Not a bit.Cloud

You see, I expected to find the state of cloud databases to be much, much more sparse and juvenile than what I found. Lots more juvenile than what I found.

I’m not yet certain what I think of treating your cloud database as ‘just another app’, since it holds sensitive information and a cloud is not your private network. Remember: for a few bucks a month a hacker can legally be on the same physical network as your DB, something we’ve spent years and a small fortune preventing. But if you trust your IT staff’s (or your own if you are IT staff) ability to lock down MySQL or SQL Server or Oracle like it was on a public IP address, then this is probably a good choice for you.

Caspio really did do the best job of convincing me that they’re on to the security stance though. Seriously, they didn’t bury their claims in legalese or tons of other disclaimers and documentation, they listed their certifications and what precautions they take with both physical access and staff access to your data. Still leaves the question of how well they can detect suspicious activity coming from a “customer” instance, but since they’re selling DB services and not OS instances, this is a little less of a concern (though certainly don’t dismiss the risks, AJAX can be an attack vector also).


NEXT?

I want to look at this from the other side that IT cares about – which app or server vendors have a method for you to securely link back to your own database. You could always write a proxy to handle access or lock your server down to only accept requests from a specific IP range, but I want to understand how that lockdown would impact scale-up and if it was loose enough not to impact scale-up, what that would mean to other “customers” who paid their few bucks a month. I’ll explore that topic in a future blog though, for Monday’s blog is already upon me.

But for now, it’s late, and I’ve (hopefully) given you something to think about at least, and given myself a ton to think about.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...