Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2014 conference in San Francisco Stephen Lam/Getty Images
Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2014 conference in San Francisco

Google to Provide Its Internal NoSQL Database as a Cloud Service

BigTable is a database behind Google's mission critical applications like Search, Gmail and Analytics

Google’s Bigtable, the fully managed, highly scalable NoSQL database that powers the company’s biggest services like search, Gmail, and Analytics is now available as a service.

The cloud NoSQL database service can handle huge volumes of data and is being positioned as a valuable tool in the hands of Internet-of-Things players. Bigtable is meant for large ingestion, analytics, and data-heavy service workloads; its track record behind Gmail and search validates these claims.

The technology has backed Google's mission critical applications for more than a decade, and as a result, the company is promising at least two times the performance per dollar over unmanaged NoSQL alternatives. Google’s economies of scale make it a potentially disruptive force in the NoSQL market.

Cloud Bigtable is also secure, built with a replicated storage strategy, and all data is encrypted both in-flight and at rest. The NoSQL database service is accessible through the open source Apache HBase API.

Google also has a service partner ecosystem offering managed Cloud Bigtable services, including SunGard, Pythian, CCRi and Tellit Wireless Solutions.

Bigtable is available as a beta release in multiple locations.

The Growing Cloud NoSQL Market

Cloud Bigtable is a potential competitive threat to other cloud NoSQL service providers, given the price point and track record.

NoSQL, in general, stands to capitalize on the Internet of Things, with many players tuning their message to capture the massive, emerging market. NoSQL is good at handling unstructured data, e.g. the types of data generated by a multitude of connected devices. There's a growing opportunity for offering managed services around NoSQL.

“As businesses become increasingly data-centric, and with the coming age of the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprises and data-driven organizations must become adept at efficiently deriving insights from their data,” wrote Cory O’Connor, product manager at Google. “In this environment, any time spent building and managing infrastructure rather than working on applications is a lost opportunity.”

IoT is a major factor behind increasing investment in new players as well as service providers getting into the act. New offerings continue to come to market, such as last month when RethinkDB rolled out its first commercially supported release of its NoSQL designed for real-time applications.

Amazon Web Services also has a NoSQL DB-as-a-Service play, DynamoDB. CenturyLink recently acquired a NoSQL-as-a-service player Orchestrate to complement its more traditionally managed Oracle or Microsoft SQL database services. Rackspace is another service provider big in the database services game, acquiring ObjectRocket in 2013 and expanding managed database services from there.

Other NoSQL DBaaS include IBM-owned Cloudant, a company which eternal SoftLayer competitor Rackspace previously invested in; and Tesora’s Trove, and Cumulogic, which offer both SQL and NoSQL as a service.

DB-as-a-Service offerings also stand to capitalize from the increasing amount of database activity moving to the cloud in general. While this is not close to a wholesale move, other As-a-Service offerings will certainly continue to grow.

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