Data is the cornerstone of business, involved in all facets - from financial to AI/ML training. Development and engineering teams, quality assurance, business intelligence teams, and database administrators need database access to carry out their tasks effectively. Despite the significant role that data plays in operations, traditional forms of database delivery remain complex, expensive, and time-consuming.
Moreover, the growth of enterprise data has led to increased management challenges and driven up the cost of data storage. Duplicating data to each new environment as use cases arise is overwhelming DBA teams and incurring a significant storage footprint. Data has become a significant bottleneck for DevOps teams, highlighting the importance of finding a quick, automated solution for the database duplication across non-production environments.
In the past, software release frequency was limited to several times per year, so teams could work with the same dataset for upwards of six months without needing a data refresh, leaving DBAs with plenty of time to meet all production data needs. However, the software release cycle has been significantly reduced, with it, the required data refresh rate increased dramatically. With agile development, new features may be added and new data scenarios created every few days - if not hours.
As a result DBA teams find themselves flooded with demands that are nearly impossible to meet - QA teams require testing data, AI/ML teams need millions of data points for accurate training, and data analysts must analyze fresh data to better drive organizational growth.
What’s the Solution?
Database virtualization provides an automated, simple solution to the dataset replication bottleneck. By simplifying the creation and distribution of databases, DevOps teams can create fully functioning virtual environments without depending on DBA teams, allowing the DBAs to focus on more critical duties relating to production databases.
The primary advantage of database virtualization is the increased speed in which data is delivered. To keep DevOps teams productive and avoid using old, stale data, new environments need to be produced in a matter of seconds. By integrating the production of new environments into the CI/CD pipeline with automation, DevOps teams can have complete autonomy when it comes to creating and accessing the data they need.
Agility is critical to the success of database management, and each team requires an independent environment, unaffected by other use cases. The creation and supply of virtual databases allows for quick provisioning. Virtual databases look identical to the original physical database and function independently of each other. Any changes made to a vDB remain unique to the environment it’s in.
As the need for data grows, so does the cost of storage. Creating a physical copy for each team and use case results in a significant storage footprint, so the datasets come with a hefty cost. However, the creation of virtual databases led to a dramatic decrease in storage needs. While traditional physical datasets can weigh 2-4 TB, vDBs weigh only a few hundred megabytes, decreasing the weight and cost of storage across all fields.
Although database delivery problems may have been resolved, enterprises are faced with another major issue - security. With so many different teams accessing data in virtual and low-level testing environments, the risk of ransomware and other cyberattacks increases significantly - especially considering securing non-production environments generally receives less investment than securing production.
To address this issue, sensitive data should be masked to render it useless to outside sources. However, traditional masking requires a data expert to manually sift through all existing data and implement data masking algorithms on any sensitive information found. This time-consuming solution creates a new data bottleneck. By automating the process and applying it to the golden copy, corporations can be confident that all vDBs created are completely secure and privacy compliant.
Database virtualization is the future of data management. Virtual databases are delivered in a matter of minutes, significantly reducing the speed of delivery. These environments are easy to use, independent, and can be maintained via a self-service portal. The ongoing synchronization between the original database and the vDB ensures continuous access to the latest data without timely or expensive processes.
Effective database virtualization enables well-established enterprises to compete more easily against agile startups, which face fewer barriers to entry. It reduces the complexity, costs, and time consumption associated with traditional database delivery, simplifies creation and distribution of databases, and secures sensitive data.
Ultimately, database virtualization empowers DevOps teams to access data quickly, easily, and safely, enabling corporations to operate more efficiently and with greater agility. As data continues to be the lifeblood of most corporations, adopting data virtualization will be essential to drive the next big transformation.