There’s a saying doing the rounds in business circles, that data is the new gold. It is an interesting notion, not least because it underlines how valuable today’s businesses view data, but also because it captures the way that data is being commodified and treated as an asset in its own right.
The importance and value of data has been growing exponentially for some time, and shows no signs of stopping. This has partly been driven by the explosion in data volumes brought about by digital technology, which has made information about business processes available at an incredibly fine level of granular detail. As technologies like IoT, robotic automation and 5G always-on connectivity take off, the volumes of data are only going to progress in one direction.
If data is the raw material for driving intelligence-led business growth, then the touch of alchemy that extracts glittering value from it, is found in the analytics technologies that turn a slew of figures into actionable insight. Big Data algorithms, AI and machine learning are all critical to this process, as are the skills and knowledge of the data scientists who manage it all.
And then, of course, there are the databases – the places where this magnificent bounty of data is logged, stored, archived, structured and made available to the many interogration processes that extract value from it. Databases are where data is kept safe and secure as a treasured asset, databases are the foundries where data is worked, databases are the reservoirs that feed data-thirsty digital operations throughout an enterprise. Databases are gaining more and more recognition as critical parts of IT infrastructure, and database development is becoming a major part of the DevOps remit.
Database development platforms
In terms of the platforms used for development, MySQL remains the biggest fish in the pond – according to the Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey 2019, it is used by more than half of people working in database development, mainly for websites. However, the Stack Overflow survey also found that its use had fallen by 7% compared to the previous year, while other database programmes were making in roads.
So what are some of the hottest up-and-coming database platforms that developers are embracing in a big way?
In terms of year-on-year growth and the number of developers saying they’re keen to work with it, SQLite has to be considered the hottest ticket in town. A serverless self-contained database engine, SQLite is enjoying a growing reputation for being a simple, portable, low hassle platform that is ideal for working directly with applications at small scale. Use of SQLite has leapt by 10% since 2018, with a further 53% of industry insiders saying they want to get to grips with it, pronto.
Other platforms high on developers’ wishlists include MongoDB, wanted by 45% of survey respondents and picked out by one in five as a star in the making for 2019. Like SQLite, MongoDB’s star is on the rise mainly due to being easy to use and highly versatile, with the ability to connect to any programming language, work with apps running either structured or unstructured data plus support for JSON and NoSQL.
Finally, the platform getting the most love in 2019 is PostgreSQL, with 70% of Stack Overflow respondents singling it out for praise. 2018’s breakthrough database technology is now used by 36% of developers, winning plenty of fans on the back of a great feature set (many see it as a less daunting option than MySQL). Easily scalable to handle massive datasets, PostgreSQL is becoming a firm favourite with web developers for its easy portability, multiple interfaces and compatibility with major platforms.