BRIDGHEAD: Adrian Bridgwater’s IoT Blog
As we start to appreciate the complexity and variety of the different data types being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), we will see an increasing number of products align to help organisations see the full scope and potential of the data value chain. One such is the new hybrid database from HarperDB, says Adrian Bridgwater.
Data is no longer ‘just data’: all data is now of a specific type with differentiated characteristics. This catalogue of types is growing all the time: log file, machine, reference, time stamped, real-time, metadata, and so on and on.
However, this smorgasbord of types has implications for the databases that serve IoT device networks. Specifically, developers need to appreciate the fact that different data has different business values.
This is why we talk about the ‘data value chain’, in which some links are stronger than others – in other words, they add more value to the business.
Transactional vs. analytical data
Reflecting this diversity is a new release from enterprise database company, HarperDB. Describing its product as an HTAP (Hybrid Transactional/Analytical Processing) database, its ability to span both transactional and analytical data streams makes it suitable for developers who need to split value chain workloads across these two types.
Transactional data is often referred to as that segment of the value chain that holds the information needed to run a business, such as financials or HR data. Analytical data, on the other hand, is more closely associated with the information needed to manage a business, such as Business Intelligence (BI) reports and strategic planning.
Accordingly, HarperDB’s database is powered by an algorithm that ingests both unstructured and structured data into an indexed, ‘single model’ data store, without the need for additional configuration. The proposition spans both NoSQL and SQL database capabilities, and so – the company claims – obviates any need for developers to spend time engineering the underlying data models.
“There are a lot of database products on the market, but the options available are highly fragmented and complex, which makes companies’ data value chains difficult and expensive to maintain,” says Stephen Goldberg, CEO of HarperDB. “We built a database that developers of any skill level can roll out in minutes and that scales with them as their data needs grow.”
For IoT implementations, HarperDB says the new product can be installed directly on a micro-computing device – with functions that are designed to accommodate battery life concerns.
As the product is built on a native REST API, developers are also able to copy the HarperDB sample code so as to integrate with development projects. It can also be used in app development, and as a schema-less data warehouse, according to the company.
And this may be the real benefit.
There’s a lot to like here, but we have to push past the marketing speak to get to the good stuff. While HarperDB talks about spanning the IoT data value chain “from ingestion to actionability”, the database’s real power lies in its precision engineering mechanics. Functions like inter-device communication and data replication for the IoT should, and could, eliminate the need for middleware layers.
It makes me wonder why the company doesn’t just say it provides schema-less, real-time analytics on distributed, unstructured data. Or that it handles different ‘exploded’ data types (that sit in individual indices) along the value chain, in the cloud, or on the edge device. Because that’s really what it does, and it’s where its business value really lies.
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