TDWI Webinar Review: What is Data Platform as a Service (dPaaS) and What Can it Do For Your Business?

Yesterday’s TDWI webinar was sponsored by Liaison Technologies, who did the same thing last year. It’s a push for another acronym. While the acronym isn’t needed, the concept is. Data Platform as a Service is just using the cloud to help with data integration. Gosh, complex, ‘eh? I think it’s the natural progression of technology and business, it’s just data management on the cloud. But forget the marketing, let’s talk about the concept.

Cloud data management

The presentation’s first half was delivered by Phillip Russom. He started with some very trivial level setting but then quickly got to a key point. If you’ve been around for a while, you remember Best of Breed. That’s when each vendor focused product company, somewhere in the information supply chain, talked about their openness and how you could piece together a solution from different vendors. That made sense at the time, since many companies were each creating the early version of parts of a full solution.

As Phillip pointed out, times have changed. We now better understand business needs, have learned more about coding the requirements and can access far better hardware than we had fifteen years ago. That means IT is looking for what they couldn’t find back then: An integrated solution from a single or a far more limited number of vendors. They want something simpler than a hodgepodge of multiple systems.

The advantages of the cloud aren’t specific to data management. One very key business driver that was minimized in Mr. Russom’s presentation but brought out later by Patrick Adamiak during his presentation then revisited by both in the Q&A is capex versus opex – something often ignored by technical folks. Having your own hardware and data center is not just costly, it’s part of capital expenditure. Service contracts with a cloud vendor are operational expenses. That means the CxO suite and Board are often happier with that because it’s not as locked it and creates flexibility in the corporate financial picture.

One nit I had with Mr. Russom’s presentation was his statement that cloud is another architecture, like client/server or the web. The cloud and web are client server, that’s not the issue. It’s another architecture in two other key aspects: The already mentioned capex/opex divide, and the way it changes a software vendor’s ability to manage and update their software in comparison to on-premises installations.

One caution he gave that needed more explanation for folks new to the cloud was when Mr. Russom mentioned that you need to ask about the elasticity of the cloud implementation. For those who might not have heard the term, elasticity is the ability to grow or shrink cloud resources in order to match processing demands. In other words, if you get a big data dump from another source, can you quickly access more disk space? Or, from the Web side of the house: You’re hosting a big event or making a major announcement on your Web site: Can site resources be replicated quickly to handle the additional load then released when no longer needed?

Liaison

I was impressed by the fact that capex was mentioned on Patrick Adamiak’s first slide. Cloud technology has multiple advantages that can be communicated to IT, but it’s the capex/opex issue that will help close the deal in an enterprise setting. Liaison seems to understand the need to blend technical and business messages.

However, most of Mr. Adamiak’s presentation seemed to be about justifying the new acronym. The main slide compared dPaaS with other supposed solutions without admitting there’s really a lot of overlap between them. The columns weren’t as different as he’d like them to be.

His company slides didn’t seem any different than those I’ve seen from the many other firms in the space. Forget all of that, it was in a short webinar with TDWI, so he had limited time.

The fact is that Liaison claims they are where the market is going. They are vertically integrating the information supply chain while leveraging the cloud for its business and technology advantages. For those in IT looking to simplify their world, Liaison is a company that should be investigated.

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