Businesses Should Embark on a Database Modernization Journey

Verghese V Joseph –

Amid a challenging macroeconomic environment, technology spending in APAC is forecasted to grow by 5.8% in 2023 and from 2024-2027, by 6.8% to 7.3% per year. The continued investment in technology indicates burgeoning interest by business and tech leaders to digitally transform their businesses in a digital-first environment. Yet, flying in the face of these transformative ambitions of business-critical innovation are technical ball-and-chains: cumbersome legacy databases that struggle to meet the demands of modern, cloud-native, digital-first applications on scale, resiliency, efficiency, and cost optimization. Upgrading them is also not straightforward.

To keep their competitive edge, businesses are turning to database modernization, aided by companies like YugabyteDB, which is behind the open-source, high-performing, distributed SQL database for building global, cloud-native applications. With its recently launched, supercharged version 2.19, the database’s new bimodal query execution capability will enable lift-and-shift migration to a modern distributed database without the need to re-architect applications or worry about performance, and set the stage for massive scale.

Kannan Muthukkaruppan, Co-Founder & President of YugabyteDB, the company behind the open-source, high-performing, distributed SQL database for building global, cloud-native applications was among a team of database builders and operators who met at Facebook, where they helped scale the platform from millions to billions of users in just a few years.

With bold predictions on trends, including appetite for open source and APIs developers prefer to use, the team founded YugabyteDB aimed at powering global-scale, cloud-native applications. With nearly three decades of industry knowledge and expertise, Kannan shares his insights on how database modernization is key to transforming a business’s data layer and thus influencing organizational strategy, innovation, and growth. It’s time that businesses embark on a database modernization journey. Excerpts:

Q: How do you help companies match their global, data-driven applications that could effortlessly adapt to their growing business needs?

Kannan: As businesses increasingly embrace digital-first models, they require reliable and scalable database systems to meet growing demands and provide the best customer experience across multiple channels. Traditional database technologies often struggle to support increasing data workloads, impacting performance and uptime. Businesses need database infrastructure that can handle data-intensive workloads and enable new business opportunities.

Our distributed architecture, data replication strategies, and fault tolerance mechanisms are designed to address business needs for scalability and resilience in data-intensive scenarios. Our core architecture capabilities can manage large volumes of data and distribute the load across multiple nodes. The architecture’s automatic sharing feature allows new nodes to be added to the cluster without manual intervention as data volume grows, supporting seamless scalability.

The Multi API (PostgreSQL and Cassandra) runtime compatibility and our new distributed query engine, is a game-changer for companies looking to scale and customize their global, data-driven applications.

Q: Going forward, how do you see companies in cybersecurity, financial markets, IoT, retail, e-commerce, and other verticals adapt to cloud-native agility?

Kannan: As market dynamics in sectors like finance, retail, and e-commerce continue to rapidly evolve, the adoption of cloud-native architecture has become essential for businesses seeking to innovate at scale and optimize resources in an intensely competitive landscape.

With an increasing number of companies embarking on the transformative journey toward cloud-native agility, there will be a growing demand for resilient and adaptable cloud-native database solutions.

When  enabled by modern databases, cloud-native applications can fully harness the advantages associated with cloud-native technology, including enhanced productivity, agility, performance, and simplicity.

Q: What do you attribute to the growing popularity of distributed SQL databases of organizations of all sizes despite facing the limitations of legacy databases?

Kannan: Nearly every company, regardless of size, relies on data to achieve its business goals. As data becomes an increasingly invaluable asset to provide better customer experiences and decision-making, many organizations struggling to manage surging data traffic realize that their legacy databases lack the scalability and resilience to cope with the needs of their modern, cloud-native applications and increasing data sprawl.

Recognizing the importance of modernizing legacy databases  and adopting resilient and agile digital infrastructures, business leaders are increasingly moving away from legacy systems, and instead are choosing distributed SQL databases.

This strategic move to strengthen critical database infrastructure enables fewer trade-offs in the long run, such as service disruptions, increased risks of operational failure, and unexpected costs.

We have seen a growing demand for distributed SQL database solutions among our customers across the retail, e-commerce, finance, and telecommunications industries.

Q: Many organizations want to embrace DBaaS, but need to retain control of their underlying infrastructure, security and day-to-day operations. Your take?

Kannan: As business leaders look to do more with less amid the current economic headwinds, Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) becomes an attractive option that optimizes for operational and cost efficiencies, among other business needs.

However, the underlying concern for business leaders hesitant to make the change to DBaaS is the lack of control over the database infrastructure, security, and day-to-day operations. 

Nonetheless, DBaaS can also empower lean teams and increase organizational productivity by doing the heavy lifting of database management and letting organizations and employees focus on delivering their expertise and products to customers. For example, it can free up resources on the ongoing deployment, management, and monitoring of databases and infrastructure.

Some DBaaS providers have specific capabilities while others offer a variety of tools. The key here is to choose a provider that aligns with your business priorities and budget as your company scales.

Q: There’s a growing demand for education around distributed SQL, database as-a-service (DBaaS), and cloud-native development, how has Yugabyte University fared in grasping this opportunity?

Kannan: Since YugabyteDB is open source, we have a thriving community of users who are learning and gaining practical database skills by deploying YugabyteDB for real-world scenarios.

We developed Yugabyte University, a free online learning platform that helps users learn about Distributed SQL, YugabyteDB, and YugabyteDB Managed in detail through:

  • Self-paced courses for users to learn at their own convenience and revisit the sources anytime
    • Instructor-led virtual trainings that provide a more interactive learning experience
    • Builder workshops focused on helping users develop critical skills to create and deploy applications with YugabyteDB
  • Yugabyte University offers four learning paths for users of all experience levels: YugabyteDB for Administrators, YugabyteDB Anywhere for Administrators, YugabyteDB YCQL for Developers, and YugabyteDB YSQL for Developers.

We hope to grow this community and help users and organizations reach their full potential with distributed databases.