451 research basho previews distributed database and momentum


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451 research basho previews distributed database and momentum

  1. 1. Basho previews distributed database update following major deal with UK's NHS Analyst: Matt Aslett 11 Nov, 2013 The UK's National Health Service recently confirmed that it will be adopting Basho's Riak database as the basis for its next-generation Spine2 database, proving that NoSQL databases can be used for mission-critical applications. The Spine2 project will no doubt make use of at least some of the new features to be delivered in Riak 2.0 before the end of the year. The 451 Take We have long noted that while Riak was by no means the most popular NoSQL database among developers, Basho was doing disproportionately well from a commercial perspective, given its focus on enterprise deployments and distributed architecture requirements. The use of Riak as the backbone of the UK National Health Service's Spine2 project is a major validation of distributed architecture, agile development, open source, NoSQL and, above all, Basho and Riak. It should pave the way to similar deals, combined with the new Riak 2.0 functionality. One potential problem is that if Basho wasn't already in the crosshairs of the major relational database giants – in particular Oracle – we suspect it is now. Don't expect Larry Ellison & Co. to sit back and let Basho win similar deals without a fight. Context Since the emergence of the various NoSQL databases, it has been fairly easy for relational database incumbents to dismiss the new breed of non-relational database projects as not being fit for Copyright 2013 - The 451 Group 1
  2. 2. mission-critical applications. Each of the major vendors is gaining new adoption projects to dispute any such assertion, though, and Basho Technologies landed a particularly big one in October with the confirmation that the UK's National Health Service with be adopting its Riak distributed database as the basis of the Spine2 development project to create a single distributed database to connect more than 20,000 organizations providing care across the UK, including the storage of patient information, electronic prescriptions, and the NHS Number – a unique identifier for everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales. The choice of Riak for the development of Spine2, which is being led by UK-based IT contractor BJSS, is part of a shift toward open source software, a distributed architecture and agile development practices, and it sees Riak effectively replacing Oracle Database, which formed the basis of the original Spine project as part of the centralized National Programme for IT project that began in 2004 and was formally scrapped in 2011. The use of Riak for the Spine2 project is in part inspired by the Danish Health Authority, which is running a Riak-based national record system created by IT solution developer – and Basho investor – Trifork. Development of the Spine2 project is already under way; in fact, it is now in the last phases of testing and is due to go live in early 2014. That means that the project can be expected to make use of at least some of the new Riak 2.0 features, which have similarly been in development for some time, but have just recently been made available as a technical preview, with the expectation of general availability for the latest version of the company's key-value store later in the fourth quarter. Among the core new features is support for strong consistency, which effectively gives developers the option to choose between strong and eventual consistency for individual operations. This capability takes advantage of a another new feature in Riak 2.0, which is the Bucket Type – a bucket being a group of similar keys, and a Bucket Type being a group of similar buckets. Specifically, consistency is applied at the Bucket Type level. Riak 2.0 also takes advantage of Bucket Types in support of its new security capabilities, which include the ability to administer access rights and make use of plug-in authentication models, while Riak 2.0 also adds support for new Riak Data Types – specifically sets and maps – as well as full-text search integration with Apache Solr, simplified configuration management, and a reduction in the number of replicas required to be stored in distributed deployments, among other things. While there are various reasons why developers and database administrators might be drawn to NoSQL databases – including agility, relaxed consistency and performance – Basho is seeing a specific focus on the move to a distributed systems architecture, in terms of enabling high availability and fault tolerance, as well as low-latency access to data by maintaining multiple copies Copyright 2013 - The 451 Group 2
  3. 3. closer to distributed users. Flexibility is also a driver: while Riak is a key-value store, the value can be a JSON, XML or HTML document, as well as an image. The combination of this model with the Apache Solr full-text document indexing engine in Riak 2.0 means that JSON Riak 2.0 can effectively be used as a document store. Basho expanded its portfolio to enter the cloud storage market in April 2012 with the launch of Riak CS, a multi-tenant, distributed, S3- and Swift-compatible object storage software system built on top of the Riak database. The company reports that since Riak CS was released as open source in March this year, the most common use case has actually become deployment alongside the Riak databases for archiving purposes. As such, while Basho will continue to make Riak CS available as a stand-alone cloud store, we expect the company to focus on sales opportunities in which Riak CS is used as a complementary archive to Riak. Basho now claims 130 paying customers in total, up from 80 in March. In addition to the NHS, major customers include Angry Birds developer Rovio, advertising platform provider OpenX, retailer Best Buy and communications giant Comcast. Competition Basho's primary competition in the distributed database space comes from Apache Cassandra, supported by DataStax, as well as Couchbase, given their similar distributed architectures. In comparison, Basho maintains that Riak requires less administrative resources than Cassandra. We would also expect potential adopters to be looking at the MongoDB document database, the Redis key-value store, and database-as-a-service offerings such as Cloudant and Amazon's DynamoDB, while distributed relational databases – such as NuoDB, TransLattice, MemSQL and GenieDB – might also be considered in certain circumstances. Riak CS, when used as a stand-alone cloud storage offering, competes with the likes of EMC, Scality, SwiftStack, Cloudian and Inktank, as well as Swift (the object storage component of OpenStack) and Amazon's S3 service. SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses Basho was one of the first commercial NoSQL database vendors, and it has created a solid commercial business targeting communications and services providers, as well as startups. NoSQL adoption is led in part by developers, and Riak cannot compete with other NoSQL databases when it comes to developer traction. Opportunities Threats Copyright 2013 - The 451 Group 3
  4. 4. As mainstream enterprise interest in NoSQL grows, Basho's early focus on enterprise requirements and sales models is likely to pay off. Copyright 2013 - The 451 Group The incumbent database giants are not going to take kindly to being replaced in major projects such as Spine2. If Basho wasn't already in Oracle's crosshairs, we suspect it is now. 4
  5. 5. Reproduced by permission of The 451 Group; © 2013. This report was originally published within 451 Research's Market Insight Service. For additional information on 451 Research or to apply for trial access, go to: www.451research.com Copyright 2013 - The 451 Group 5