Chapter 8

Data Considerations in the Cloud

If we have data, let’s look at the data. If we have opinions, let’s go with mine.

—Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape

When it comes to cloud computing decision making, nothing influences those decisions more than data requirements. Architects and product managers should have a firm understanding of the requirements for all information that flows in and out of the system. This chapter analyzes the many characteristics of data and how those characteristics influence design decisions.

Data Characteristics

There are many characteristics of data that should be taken into consideration when building cloud services. Here is a short list of categories:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Performance requirements
  • Volatility
  • Volume
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Transaction boundaries
  • Retention period

All of the data requirements listed here factor into the decision of how to store the underlying data. There are two key decisions to make that we will discuss toward the end of the chapter:

1. Multitenant or single tenant.
2. Which type of data store to use: SQL, NoSQL, file, and so on.

In the following sections we will discuss design considerations for each data characteristic.

Physical Characteristics

When analyzing physical characteristics, many data points need to be collected. The location of the data is an important piece of information. Does the data already exist or is this a new data set? If it already exists, does the data need to be moved to the cloud ...

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