Cloudant Simplifies Moving Mobile Data into the Cloud

Michael Vizard, February 19th, 2014

One of the cumbersome chores associated with using a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) platform is moving data in and out, especially for mobile computing applications that need to do this frequently.

To help simplify that process, Cloudant this week released open source libraries for Google Android and Apple iOS mobile computing applications that make it easier for developers to manage and replicate data between those platforms and the Cloudant NoSQL database or an instance of CouchDB.

The libraries provide a simplified API with a device-local database indexing and query layer. Cloudant Sync stores application data in a device’s local database, enabling applications to collect and access data even if network connectivity is unavailable.

The APIs are compatible with CouchDB in both instances. Chris Glew, product marketing director for Cloudant, says that the APIs give developers the added benefit of being able to use the same set of libraries to talk to multiple types of NoSQL databases.

Cloudant Sync implements a native API for managing JSON documents and can also work in conjunction with mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) platforms such as Parse, StackMob, and Kinvey. Cloudant Sync’s features include local indexing and querying and management of conflicting documents. In addition, the library permits local data stores to synchronize with multiple remote databases simultaneously, allowing developers to scale apps in proportion with growing user bases.

Although there are other alternatives for moving data in to and out of Cloudant, Glew says developers informed Cloudant that they were too complicated to use. Given that Cloudant tells developers the whole purpose of DBaaS is to allow developers to focus solely on their applications, Cloudant felt obligated to create the new libraries.

At the moment, the libraries don’t support attachments that might be created by mobile computing devices equipped with cameras or microphones; however, Glew says Cloudant is working on adding that capability to the next update of the libraries.

In general, Glew says DBaaS offerings such as Cloudant are starting to gain traction with developers of mobile computing applications who can never be sure how much compute resources will be required to support their applications. The Cloudant DBaaS allows them to scale those resources both up and down by using multiple public cloud services in a way that is transparent to the average end user. Best of all from a compliance perspective, Glew says Cloudant gives developers control over what data is stored on a given zone across multiple public clouds, without having to get locked into one public cloud service versus another.

In the long term, developers will also soon find themselves contending with Big Data types that lend themselves better to NoSQL databases, says Glew. Traditional relational databases that are hosted on a finite number of server and storage resources are not going to be able to meet the performance requirements of next-generation mobile computing applications.

DBaaS is clearly becoming a foundational component of delivering mobile applications at scale. Now that it’s easier than ever to get data in to and out of those services, there’s less reason than ever to stand up dedicated database infrastructures to support those applications.

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