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By Chet Kapoor
By Chet Kapoor, Chairman and CEO, DataStax
Customers demand experiences that meet them at the speed of life. Think about an app that lets you know exactly when your latte will be ready or one that offers you alternate flight options as soon as you miss your connection.
Today, we have the technology to build these experiences. But companies of all sizes still face the challenges of complexity and fragmentation. There seems to be a new database for every use case, and data is scattered across many technology silos. Developers who build the real-time experiences that customers love need a tech stack that lets them access data quickly and easily.
Demand for apps isn’t going to slow down. IDC predicts that by 2023 there will be more than 500 million new cloud native digital apps and services – more than the total created over the past 40 years. So how can we simplify and accelerate the way developers build real-time apps?
With an open data stack that just works. It is based on open source technologies, allows developers to use the tools of their choice, and converges “data at rest” and “data in motion.”
Complexity sucks (the life out of innovation)
Greg Sly, Verizon’s SVP of Infrastructure and Platform Services, recently said that the biggest challenge for any enterprise is organizing the data that has grown across the organization over the years.
“Everyone has data lakes, data ponds – whatever you want to call them. They have all grown up organically within various business units. Now it’s about bringing that together. How do you get your arms around all the data you have?” Sly said. “You’ve got a lot of complexity with a lot of people with a lot of data that needs to get categorized, inventoried, and controlled. Then how do we leverage it to create better customer experiences?”
Just as customers demand instantaneous, intuitive experiences, developers need to have all the data that matters at their fingertips. Any developer working on an app that matters – whether they’re at a startup or an enterprise – needs a technology stack that gets them across the finish line as quickly as possible.
Open source fosters innovation
Open source projects bring together a bunch of really smart, diverse people who innovate like crazy. With contributors from different industries and geographies, the software becomes hardened and reliable across tons of use cases. And developers discover new ways of solving problems together – fast. We’ve seen this work beautifully at companies like Apple, Netflix and VerSe.
Our own research shows that a common characteristic of successful data-driven enterprises is their commitment to open source. These enterprises find a wealth of community-driven innovation that’s constantly improving open-source software (OSS) and equipping developers with best-of-breed tools to build with.
Think about Apache Cassandra®. The NoSQL database was built in 2007 by Facebook engineers who needed to find a scalable way to store and access massive amounts of data. Cassandra keeps improving thanks to the brilliant contributors from many different companies that continue to add to it.
Developers need the right tools
For developers, it’s all about ease of building and time to market. Let’s look at an example. Ankeri provides data services to companies that manage container ship fleets. They run a small development team that cannot afford to waste time with anything other than building a better experience for their users.
“We are a start-up company, and as such need to be focused on features rather than infrastructure,” said Ankeri vice president of engineering Nanna Einarsdóttir. “The path from an idea to customer feedback must be short, and we need to be agile and forward-thinking.”
Data APIs go a long way in simplifying and speeding up development. They help insulate developers from distractions, like learning how data is stored or wasting computing resources by installing and running databases locally. Most importantly, APIs allow them to plug in and swap out the tech of their choice.
To make it even easier for developers to build, a data gateway can serve as an abstraction layer between an application and a database. Stargate is an open-source API gateway that does this, maintaining the ease of API management and leaving the updates to be handled by project maintainers.
Converge data at rest and data in motion
To build apps that meet customers at the speed of life, developers need a stack that supports all real-time data:
A NoSQL database like Cassandra that’s optimized for customer context and instant access
And a best-of-breed streaming and messaging platform, which enables customer actions to become visible to all your applications
At DataStax, we partner with developers and enterprises to deliver an open data stack that serves real-time applications. Cassandra plays a starring role. DataStax Astra DB, our database-as-a-service built on Cassandra, makes “data at rest” easy to use and build on.
But the world is in constant motion, and streaming “data in motion” captures changes on the fly. Best-of-breed streaming and messaging technologies like Apache Pulsar enable real-time data to be acted upon as it’s generated (like when FedEx sends a notification to a buyer that their package has been delivered). In other words, it enables actions to become visible to all of an enterprise’s applications, in real-time. This is why DataStax Astra Streaming, which is built on Pulsar, is another key component of the open stack we deliver for enterprises and developers.
Siggy.ai: From struggle to success
Here’s a quick case study of how an open real-time stack can simplify development. Siggy.ai is a real-time recommendation app that integrates with Shopify, the e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Chang Xiao, Siggy.ai’s founder and CEO, tried building a stack on his own using a combination of AWS and open source technologies. He began searching for an always-on solution that supported specialized operations while making development easy. Chang chose DataStax Astra DB, and within weeks, he went from struggling with unreliable databases and server issues to delivering in-the-moment, AI-powered recommendations to shoppers everywhere.
Give developers what they need
At DataStax, we’re obsessed with knocking down barriers between data and developers by helping them to mobilize all real-time data, build smarter applications faster, and not worry about scaling.
Let’s face it. When you give developers everything they need, they can focus on innovation and building, and the outcome is better apps and experiences that customers keep coming back for.
Chet is Chairman and CEO of DataStax. He is a proven leader and innovator in the tech industry with more than 20 years in leadership at innovative software and cloud companies, including Google, IBM, BEA Systems, WebMethods, and NeXT. As Chairman and CEO of Apigee, he led company-wide initiatives to build Apigee into a leading technology provider for digital business. Google (Apigee) is the cross-cloud API management platform that operates in a multi- and hybrid-cloud world. Chet successfully took Apigee public before the company was acquired by Google in 2016. Chet earned his B.S. in engineering from Arizona State University.