One of the things I’ve been wrestling with since joining Basho is not simply defining WHAT Basho does in terms of its flagship Riak platform, but moreover distilling Riak’s value into a few uses cases that tell the most value-oriented story. And all the while, I am trying to firmly place Basho/Riak in the center of a major transformation going on: that of migration to the cloud.
Not a bad lost of goals for one’s first months on the job, eh?
As Basho looks to help define a new space, and seek guidance as it executes in general, I’ve had some awesome conversations with all sorts of people over the past few weeks. Yesterday was exceptional for a number of reasons, the least of which being that I was lucky enough to have a lunch discussion with Gartner’s Lydia Leong. Lydia is one of the brightest analysts covering the cloud infrastructure space, and she had a lot of great ideas to share.
One splinter of our conversation really stuck out to me. Lydia was discussing a recent blog post of hers on what she sees as four emerging application types in the cloud. I would like to simplify her model down to three major classes of apps:
- Enterprise applications (or applications created by enterprises) moving into the cloud
- Internet Apps – Web-based and inherently scalable
- Global Apps – Web-based, highly scalable and nearly ubiquitous
This is a pretty inclusive categorization. I mean, so many SaaS apps and big enterprise-wide deployments will make a migration to the cloud in the present or near future. The “Internet Apps” covers so many of the next-generation SaaS and web-based apps, including a lot of mobile apps. And the Global apps bucket covers the Twitters, Facebooks etc. of the world. Not much else there that embodies a clearly defined target market, right? (Thanks for doing this classification Lydia!)
So, where does Basho/Riak play among these buckets? Well, a little in all, but in different ways. Riak can be a data store to a purpose-built enterprise app; a caching layer for an Internet app, or part of the distributed fabric and DNA of a Global app. Those are of course highly arbitrary and vague examples, but it shows how flexible Riak is as a platform.
I see the clear value of Riak in areas where dependability of scaling app experiences is highly important. Many apps will be deployed in the cloud (Internet apps developed by startups, or less critical enterprise apps like HR tools) because people simply do not want the headache of building infrastructure. For super scalable enterprise and global apps – those where the data inside is inherently valuable and dependability of the system to capture, process and store data/writes is imperative – well I see Riak outperforming any perceived competitor in the space in providing value here.
Riak is still proving its value at a number of levels in various types of IT organizations. But one thing I do believe, is that Riak is firmly planted in the center of what is proving to be more than just a slight shift in how applications and systems are conceived, developed and managed given the evolution of the cloud.