At the AWS re:Invent 2023 conference today, Couchbase, Inc. announced it added a columnar database based on the JSON file format to its database-as-a-service (DBaaS) portfolio to enable organizations to build real-time analytics applications.
Scott Anderson, senior vice president for product management and business operations at Couchbase, said the Capella columnar database is designed to be integrated with the company’s JSON-based document database via a database change protocol (DCP) that Couchbase has embedded within its DBaaS environment.
Deployed on cloud services from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the overall goal is to reduce the level of friction that IT teams would otherwise encounter when integrating a document database with a columnar database optimized to process analytics using columns rather than the rows typically associated with a relational database.
That approach gives IT teams the ability to use a schemaless database architecture that provides an alternative to employing disparate databases that would need to be deployed and then integrated using extract, transform and load (ETL) processes to move data from one database to the other, noted Anderson.
Capella columnar also uses the same SQL++ language as the company’s document database to streamline queries in addition to supporting Capella iQ, a copilot based on generative artificial intelligence (AI) that enables queries to be crafted in natural language.
In addition, Capella columnar provides connectors to move data from Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon DocumentDB, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and other data sources deployed on the AWS cloud.
In the longer term, Couchbase is also planning to add vector capabilities to its DBaaS environment to make it simpler to securely extend generative AI models, said Anderson.
In general, document databases have been widely adopted because they provide developers with an alternative to legacy database platforms that they can download and deploy themselves. The Capella DBaaS platform further simplifies that process via a managed service through which Couchbase assumes operational responsibility for managing databases. The columnar database extends that capability using a columnar database that can drive analytics capabilities to deliver a more personalized application experience, noted Anderson.
It’s not clear to what degree organizations will ultimately wind up relying on as-a-service platforms, but since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to this approach to consuming IT resources has increased significantly. As a result, the way internal IT teams are organized is shifting as lower-level tasks are either automated or handled by an external IT team that works for a vendor.
Regardless of how databases are managed, however, there remains a need to integrate the data operations (DataOps) processes used to manage them with the DevOps workflows used to build modern applications. Each organization will need to determine how much economic sense it makes for them to manage that data versus relying on an external services provider. The challenge when relying on an external service provider is, as always, integrating that service into an existing IT environment.
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