Over the past two years I’ve been amazed by the increase in feature velocity for early- stage Internet companies. It seems as though the rate at which small teams can deliver new feature and function to their users is increasing at a dramatic pace. There are probably lots of reasons for this – but the one common element among all of these new companies is their aggressive use of cloud services for all their basic systems (primarily AWS) as well as their Dev Ops (primarily Github) as well as databases (primarily Cloudant and Dynamo).
Google’s use of similar internal services (BigTable, etc.) drives productivity inside of Google. However, what’s incredible is how third-party databases that are offered as services are developing and the pace at which developers are adopting them.
Dev teams that use Database as a Service (DBaaS) are able to consistently deliver more feature and function faster to their customers because developers aren’t burdened by what I like to call the traditional “Database Drag Coefficient” – the amount of time and resources required to install, configure, scale and tune a database system to support the needs of any given application and the changes over time to the feature and function of that application.
The biggest factor in the Database Drag Coefficient equation is tuning and scaling; that is, the amount of time required to tune queries and figure out how to partition data across disk as an application grows and user requirements change. DBaaS is not a magic bullet, it’s just a more-efficient allocation of resources that allows the people who have developed the engine to own the tuning and tweaking of the database system to ensure that it does what’s required. I experienced the opposite of this when we started Vertica back in 2004.
Great reference in this post about a Cloudant customer, Foundbite.
Database as a Service (DBaaS) is a reality for early-stage companies, and I believe it will have an even bigger impact on developer productivity than EC2 and S3 – which is significant, because I believe that the impact of AWS has been revolutionary for modern developers.