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Databases Needn’t be a Drag

Virtualisation – or the ability to run multiple virtual machines on the same physical piece of hardware – has been with us for some time now. It’s a great way of maximising hardware assets and increasingly flexibility.

Now there’s a new form of virtualisation in town: database virtualisation. Its benefits go beyond merely hardware savings; rather it helps CIOs and their teams move faster, juggle way more IT projects at the same time and ultimately keep up with the crazy pace of business these days.

Talk about Big Data

The amount of data organisations generate and store is growing exponentially – by 35-40 per cent a year according to Oracle’s Mark Hurd. Most of the high-value information in today’s enterprise applications lives in databases, be that customer records, parts numbers, financial transactions, technical support tickets, and much more. Databases are the beating heart of the organisation. But it doesn’t end there. For every live database, there is an extended family of anywhere between two and 30 copies. These copies have to be maintained for development, testing, quality assurance, user acceptance testing, pilots, training, back-up, disaster recovery… and the list goes on. At Delphix, we call this database drag: each terabyte of data can carry a drag of 8TB or more. Not just Big Data, this is Massive Data.

Database virtualisation removes the need for all these copies. And let’s be clear: we’re not talking about running a database in a virtualised environment, we’re talking virtualising the database itself. With database virtualisation, it’s no longer necessary to make and move physical copies of databases.

You no longer need to make your developers, QA engineers, data analysts and business analysts wait days for fresh data. All of the tasks listed above can then be performed on the virtual database without the need for physical copies. It certainly makes the life of the database administrator easier: no longer do they have to spend half of their time moving data around and responding to requests for refreshes. But that’s really just an added bonus.

Keep up with expectations

Where database virtualisation really makes a difference is in making the whole business run faster. A company’s ability to innovate is gated by IT’s ability to support company initiatives with the right technology. And the IT department is inhibited by the number of projects it can handle at any one time.

Without database drag and all the associated complex data refreshes and provisioning time, IT can move orders of magnitude faster than before. Application development can be accelerated by up to 500 per cent. And in the case of Facebook, database virtualisation means that the IT team can handle 11 concurrent projects instead of two.

We constantly hear about companies asking the CIO to ‘do more with less,’ to the point where it has almost become a cliché. But there’s no doubt that business is moving faster than ever before and IT departments are expected to keep apace. Plodding along with the same old physical infrastructure may just not be an option in the near future for any CIO who wants to measure up to those expectations.

Iain Chidgey is the vice president, EMEA, for Delphix. The company enables agile data management through intelligent software that eliminates redundant infrastructure and slow processes