Data driven enterprises apply data to make sounder strategic decisions and optimize business – from the strategic to the operational. Connectivity of a multitude of applications and data sources is required to make that data available where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Matt Gillespie outlines key data-connectivity considerations for organizations bridging to cloud or hybrid operations and seeking to increase their effective and efficient use of data for business enhancement.
Having completed the first stages of digitalizing business practices, many companies have by now liberated most or all of their data from its former confines in paper-driven records and desktop spreadsheets. In many cases where digital resources have grown organically – or without a central plan – a lack of connectivity between applications and data sources, has led to the prevalence of data silos within and around the business.
The value of data grows with context, as interactions among many data sets enable the insights that drive digital transformation (or put simply, drive better business). To optimize that context, data silos must be torn down. An efficient way to achieve that is to use standards-based drivers that deliver pervasive, dependable, high-performance connectivity to data wherever it resides, on-prem or off.
Streamlining Cloud Adoption at the Connectivity Layer
Even forward-looking development houses, working to adopt a “cloud-first” mindset, are often challenged by whether to invest in cloud-enabling some of their existing applications. The budget to do so can be hard to justify, driving organizations to look for alternatives to a full cloud-migration of their applications and data landscapes.
Complete migrations are typically done gradually as resources and competing priorities allow, which reduces the potential risk and disruption of the changes. Of course, during a gradual cloud transition, applications still in pre-migration state can benefit from data that resides in cloud sources.
Simba has extensive expertise providing ODBC/JDBC data connectors that make it possible for enterprise customers to abstract away the complexity of cloud-enabling their applications. Real-world benefits realized by mainstream organizations include the following:
- Standards-based cloud connectivity by non-cloud applications. The connectors create a web services layer that provides optimized, SSL-protected data interchange with public and private cloud services. Because the drivers are standards-compliant, they expose native connectivity to the data sources and seamlessly support applications with existing connectivity based on ODBC or JDBC.
- Direct query of data from cloud-based SaaS sources. Simba drivers enable your legacy on-prem applications to query data directly from cloud services such as Concur and Salesforce. Those data sources typically expose their data using web services that the Simba connectors interpret using an internal SQL engine and expose in the form of the tables that legacy applications are built to utilize.
- Continued operation on existing infrastructure. Whether during transition to a fully cloud-native environment or as a longer-term strategy, legacy applications that continue to be hosted using on-prem servers draw value from those infrastructure investments that would otherwise be lost. In addition, continuing to operate those servers allows for additional applications to be added non-obtrusively.
These capabilities help bridge the old and the new, smoothing the cloud transition that is fundamental to most companies’ visions for digital transformation.
Optimizing Connections to Data, Wherever it Resides
The ability to bridge between evolving business processes and their relevant data sources —wherever they resideis fundamental to protecting business competitiveness in the face of evolving compute models. As firms adopt hybrid, dispersed environments that include multiple public cloud services together with on-premises resources, they must provide reliable connectivity to data sources throughout.
The value of that connectivity grows as the business develops the mechanisms to drive data-driven decision making based on big data sources (e.g., Hadoop, Spark), SaaS applications (e.g., Concur, Salesforce), and cloud stores (e.g., Amazon S3, Oracle Service Cloud An intentional approach to implementing data connectors is strategically valuable, and as companies work to optimize their data connectivity, they should consider the following goals:
- Overcome scale limitations for big data. Big data tools and techniques reveal insights that would otherwise remain hidden by processing data at a scale that would have been cost-prohibitive using older techniques. Simba’s high-throughput, low-latency drivers are built for those data sets, and updates provide early compliance with new data standards and other requirements.
- Provide business-critical reliability. As the processes built around generalized data connectivity become more pervasive and business-critical, drivers must be able to deliver high availability. Simba drivers are commercially supported by specialty engineers, providing an added level of assurance relative to working with internal or external resources that may have limited data-connector-specific experience and/or limited bandwidth for connectivity maintenance.
- Optimize solution flexibility. Simba provides off-the-shelf data connectors for 80% of the data sources enterprises use, from relational enterprise databases to cloud services. To provide access to any others or for specialized needs, Simba builds and maintains custom drivers. For organizations that prefer to build their own drivers, Simba offers its SimbaEngine SDK, the same toolset that Simba engineers use internally to write drivers.
Working toward these goals advances the business on the path to becoming fully data-driven, which is core to the success of any digital transformation initiative. The lightweight ability to enable existing applications to access data from cloud services such as Concur and Salesforce can smooth the process of cloud migration. And reliable, high-performance, flexible connections to data wherever it resides enable new models for the business to realize its full value
An enterprise competes more successfully, operates more efficiently and grows more readily based on the power of its data-driven decisions. Call it digital transformation or data revolution – only with widespread, trusted, standards-based connectivity to data across multiple applications and sources can that be reality. Working with Simba, businesses can deploy drivers that will ensure access to the data they need, where and when they need it.