Better apps for tomorrow start with multi-model databases today

In today’s high-tech world, consumers are demanding more sophisticated digital experiences. According to McKinsey, tech-savvy consumers in Asia-Pacific have complex digital needs, finding it easier to research, purchase, and pay online.

While this boom is good for business, it results in an exponential increase in data loads and data processing of websites and applications. And because digital experiences rely on the collection, storage, and analysis of data, having the right database architecture matters.

Super apps on multiservice platforms like WeChat, Gojek, and Grab are reigning in the Asia-Pacific marketplace, and are expected to grow a further 20%; with it, increasing consumption and the need for more competitive features.

The question then, is how can businesses keep database interactions efficient to enable ever-expanding data requirements from applications?

The future of applications

With customer experiences and omnichannel commerce taking centre stage, businesses, according to EY, need to be proactive to meet customer expectations in the digital space. While it’s important to keep your app functionality updated and timely, the burden laid on developers and servers to keep up with the competition and modern-day expectations has become increasingly taxing and complex. Because of this, a balance between agility and structural integrity is important to the developer.

The main challenge holding back developers is their continued reliance on traditional legacy databases. Many present-day applications work poorly with SQL databases, and are considered by many businesses as a type of legacy technology that limits development progress and restricts application capabilities.

Our Couchbase survey found that 61% of organisations were still using legacy databases and reported that this held back their ability to execute digital transformation. This situation has nudged many developers away from relational databases towards a cloud-based serverless development path. Consequently, our report found that developers who have made this move have enjoyed faster time to market and lower operational costs due to fewer infrastructure challenges.

This new environment will require cloud-native practices such as continuous integration and delivery from adaptable developers. Towards this goal, many developers have adopted microservices, a tool considered by many to be perfect for ensuring continuity. With microservices powering each application feature, developers can make adjustments to separate functions without updating the application as a whole, saving time and effort for the business.

Furthermore, despite the benefits that microservices bring, the move towards cloud computing has as much as 62% of organisations concerned about security, according to our survey. To ensure that data and infrastructure are secure, businesses need to consider how applications generate new data, and if their developers have the know-how to implement the necessary safeguards to keep the business protected.

Microservices and data sprawl

Microservices have emerged as a common architecture pattern over the last decade because it offers greater flexibility compared to a traditional monolithic application. At the same time, this requires each microservice to provide resilience, scalability, and persistence where needed.

This shift to modular application development also means that data requirements will progressively grow, with a single application ending up with databases numbering in the thousands. This ultimately causes data sprawl, which results in slower searches and disrupted user experiences as servers choke up.

In addition to productivity loss and the inability to access data, businesses lose even more when they cannot deliver the expected customer experiences. The temptation to cut corners by limiting functionality and lowering security is common in applications with multiple databases, often resulting in data inconsistency, duplication, and insecure data. Consequently, this results in the application becoming financially unsustainable as integration and administration costs bring development to a halt.

Reigning in your development 

The modern-day business needs to deal with modern database management challenges for development teams to remain efficient and be fast to market with their applications. In this new era of development, adding new capabilities by learning and rewriting code will cost the enterprise money, time, and effort that’s not commensurate with the result. This is why many businesses have moved to multi-model databases.

Multi-model databases bring unlimited potential and are, indeed, a developer’s best friend, enabling agile deployments, cross data centre replications, and support for multiple functions and services with a single database. When your database is consolidated under a multi-model database, microservices can be built and launched more quickly. Essentially, this means your business and customers’ data are better protected, software and hardware costs are reduced, and many administrative tasks can also be automated.

Multi-model databases also enable improved analytics, letting the business collect and analyse transaction and behavioural data for a competitive advantage. This is important as 30% of data-first enterprises in Asia-Pacific gain more actionable insights and can better target new sources of revenue. And because the multi-model database supports data collection separately, it ensures data flows and application performance are fast and uninterrupted.

Cross-database replication and memory-first architectures in multi-model databases also reduce latency while enabling the business to implement multidimensional scaling according to needs. In Asia-Pacific, for example, Big Data has been utilised to promote tourism and establish tourism-friendly policies to drive and rejuvenate a struggling hospitality industry.

Data, one of the building blocks of technology, needs to be managed effectively if developers want to build the applications of the future. Businesses continue to derive value from microservices, as businesses remain nimble, fast, and adaptable to all that modern consumers crave. With multi-model databases, businesses can charge forward with more sophisticated applications and compete on a level playing field without being burdened by data sprawls, latency, or lagging performance.