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How the Cloud “FUBARed” Databases by Industry Expert, Tcat Houser

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For those who’ve never been in the military they learned what the acronym means from the movie Catch –22. Like many large organizations, the military loves its acronyms. This one stands for: Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition. Of course the “ed” is English indicating past tense.

Chronologically speaking, a good percentage of my human lifespan expectancy is in the rearview mirror. Careful analysis has given me some perspective (one of the beauties of old age), on how things get FUBARed. I submit to you, we as humans do it to ourselves, and we do it by advancing technology. Let me give you an example.

Security Procedures

Corporate records held in a relational database were made accessible to the corporate road warriors with the advent of the modem. Of course, things like username and password are not perfect security solutions. So the vendors of network operating systems instituted a security procedure. When the remote worker correctly entered a username and password, the server would hang up the modem and dial-back to the number of the remote worker. Worked great, until…*72 was introduced by phone companies.

*72 allowed the number to be dialed and forwarded to a different number, with no record being left either on the server, or with the phone company. Made for a pretty tempting target for an unscrupulously motivated person to bribe an employee who did not feel valued. Things like corporate secrets could be stolen, with no trace of how or by whom.

The Cloud Is Here to Stay

While I personally disdain the hype about “The Cloud” being new (it’s been around since X.25 – 1970s), the massive proliferation of fiber optics combined with other technologies (now even a homeowner can get a couple terabytes of storage for about 100 bucks), The Cloud has become part of our mainstream life and it’s not going away.

The challenges with this show up on the database side. NoSQL is great for read-only data. A relational database that has full ACID capability doesn’t scale. In effect the cloud has created the same type of problem *72 had in the early days.

The good news is that just breaking over the horizon is a solution.

Radical Rethink

NeoDB, NewDBA radical rethink of the database problem for the cloud has launched. It’s called NuoDB. I have been looking at it and my jaw is dragging on the floor.

It uses SQL tools, has ACID capabilities with NoSQL scalability. The biggest challenge I see is its very simplicity. The average database engineer may not be able to see the forest for the trees without forgetting everything they know (except for their SQL statements).

Take a look, while thinking about your problems. Just forget everything you know about what a solution should look like.

About The Author:

Tcat Houser is a network engineering expert and veteran. He began his technology career with the GE-225 Main frame in 1966. He is an author, blogger, trainer and columnist.

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