Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Aleksei Gavrilenko, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Jaynesh Shah

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, @MicroservicesE Blog

@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 currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20 Ultimate, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, 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
The basic integration architecture, as defined by ESBs, hasn’t changed for more than a decade. Most cloud integration providers still rely on an ESB architecture and their proprietary connectors. As a result, enterprise integration projects suffer from constraints of availability and reliability of these connectors that are not re-usable across other integration vendors. However, the rapid adoption of APIs and almost ubiquitous availability of APIs amongst most SaaS and Cloud applications are rapidly redefining traditional integration approaches and their reliance on proprietary connectors. ...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
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 wi...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
"We have a tagline - "Power in the API Economy." What that means is everything that is built in applications and connected applications is done through APIs," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
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.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, and the “Third Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place June 7-9, 2016, at Javits Center in New York City. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.