Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Data layer requirements for applications with cloud hosting and NoSQL databases - Cloudant

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MVC is one of the most famous and widely adopted application development design patterns. Typically data layer of applications starts off with features that requests actions related to data manipulations. 
  • If an application is public facing where users can sign-up on the app and consume services, there are bright changes that with the success of the application, user data would grow linearly. 
  • On the top of it if the application is related to social media / networking / large scale e-commerce, then the app is a future candidate to mature in the big data processing requirements. This puts an obligation on the data layer to be more mature, if you want to keep your operational costs (incurred by dedicated DBAs, infrastructure procurement and maintenance, etc) under check. 
  • As data grows big, and tends towards being unstructured from structured, database choices tends to be towards specialized NoSQL databases from generalized relational RDBMS.
  • To manage data load, data management methods like replication, sharding, master-slave configuration, partitioning etc are employed. As most of these techniques require flexibly scalable infrastructure, data is hosted mostly on cloud and this means that data access layer should be mature enough to work with cloud and almost manage the infrastructure administration using the cloud provider api. 
  • Different cloud providers have their own pros and cons. An application downtime is directly proportional to equivalent loss is business in today's world. So you might want your data layer to be flexible enough, such that it can access data from some of the leading cloud hosting environments.
These specifications are too ambitious for an application to develop just for it's own use.  But at the same time to keep frequent revamping of data layer at bay or to avoid create duplicate data layers for different optimal data access and management methods, one needs a data layer that can manage the above mentioned challenges.

One interesting company provider a data layer solution that can meet the above specifications with even more features - Cloudant. It provides a data layer to 
  • Manage data in CouchDB NoSQL database, 
  • Hosted on choice of cloud providers like AWS, Azure, RackSpace etc
  • RESTful CouchDB compliant APIs
  • JSON based data exchange format
  • Lucene based text search and much more.
NoSQL databases, Cloud providers of the scale of Azure, AWS etc, MPP systems like Hadoop etc are quite famous. But the data layer that manages data access along with data management on cloud can be a very interesting option, than starting your app from scratch with a fat sized cloud account. Checkout the technical whitepaper on Cloudant for a detailed understanding of this service and this article.

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