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EXCLUSIVE African Tech Voices: DBaaS provides African companies with an agile platform for growth

By , ITWeb
Africa , 28 Nov 2022
Phillip de Waal, Systems Engineering Manager at Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa.
Phillip de Waal, Systems Engineering Manager at Nutanix Sub-Saharan Africa.

Digital transformation is a term that is fast becoming central to doing business in Africa. With more hypervisors arriving on the continent, bringing highly scalable datacentres with them, organisations across industry sectors are embracing the widespread migration to cloud-native, mobile-first, AI-enriched, low-code technologies. Within this context, database-as-a-service (DBaaS) is gaining momentum and providing companies with a more agile alternative to their traditional database environments.

Forming part of this is the notion of composable computing. This is the world of temporary IT resources where computing functions and data storage processes happen in a pre-determined, on-demand way according to a more flexible and manageable agenda. Between the cloud, DBaaS, and composable computing, companies today have access to entirely customisable technology infrastructure that can be adapted to any of their unique business requirements.

Bringing composability to databases

DBaaS can be created in any number. It lets an organisation implement custom databases optimised for specific use cases across physical and virtual environments. African companies stand to benefit significantly from the combination of DBaaS and composable computing to usher in an era where inflexible database structures give way to more controllable ones.

With this comes enhanced scalability. Think of DBaaS as a way to deploy databases that fit into a company’s current application real estate and data requirements. However, it also enables the database to scale up or down effortlessly. Unlike traditional database implementations, which can get costly, primarily when they are poorly planned, DBaaS facilitates a more precision-engineered approach.

As with any cloud-based model, DBaaS brings the added benefit of one-click patching. With this, database updates, maintenance, and management can be done at the click of a button, maintaining security, compliance, and smooth operation. Furthermore, DBaaS automates many labour-intensive and error-prone tasks associated with system management and provides flexibility.

Transforming compliance into a science

Of course, the composability of technology and the flexibility of DBaaS require a constant view of how data is managed within the evolving compliance environment. Not only must country-specific regulations be adhered to (think Protection of Personal Information Act in South Africa as an example), but international ones as well (for instance, the General Data Protection Regulation).

It is designed to identify potential threats that could negatively affect mission-critical data and systems based on its foundational architecture of compliance and security. As part of its initial auditing and assessment, a company migrating to DBaaS services should look for toughened compliance capabilities to prevent even the most minor data breaches from causing long-term damage.

The financial fines and reputational damage associated with non-compliance mean the DBaaS offering must cover all regulatory aspects while still providing manoeuvrability to work with new rulings when they arise.

One of the best ways a company can ensure compliance is by putting internal standards around data management built on global (and in-country) best practices. When fully managed, DBaaS opens the door to focus on value-add customer issues, increasing operational efficiencies and balancing sustainability goals with profitability.

Irrespective of the company's industry, every good IT automation layer should have an equal and opposite human directive.

Future flexibility

Whether it is composability on a technology layer or from a DBaaS perspective, a company must always look at the flexibility provided. For instance, a DBaaS must shape, mould, and move to the needs of the business.

Across Africa, there is a groundswell of adoption when it comes to Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) practices. To keep up with modern IT stacks, data engineers and administrators must identify DBaaS offerings that can be accessed as Web services to support an always-on status for companies, consumer software applications, and end users.

Any progressive organisation can benefit from DBaaS in its working deployment when designed and implemented carefully and thoughtfully. In addition to systems compliance and standards and best practices, this should be done with a keen eye on security, standards, and best practices.

Suppose a business is not looking to orchestrate composability and champion this term throughout its IT stack. In that case, it might just find itself headed towards the future with the proper database foundation in place. 

African businesses have the ideal platform to leapfrog other technologies being used elsewhere in the world while embedding their unique flair. The potential for DBaaS is there. It must just be embraced.

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