Dan's Take

The Problem of Synching Cloud Data

Bedrock Data thinks it has a solution.

Bedrock Data CEO John Marcus, and Adrian Mott, Marketing VP, came by to introduce their company and to discuss the problem it was founded to address. It appears to be a straightforward issue, but the underlying technology could be very complex.

The Problem
As enterprise use of cloud-based systems grows, it's likely to soon run into the issue of keeping data in one cloud service synchronized with data stored in-house and other cloud systems. While this doesn't seem like a significant problem at first glance, it clearly could quickly become time consuming and error prone.

Often these enterprises would develop procedures to manually export data, cut and paste the data to get it into the correct form for the target system, resolve data conflicts that crop up and then manually import data into the target system.

This approach isn't very timely and often means that the data in different systems is out of date. It's also very easy to accidentally overwrite new data with an older version.

What does Bedrock Data do?
Bedrock Data was founded to address the problems this approach creates. It creates an automated  service to automatically and systematically synchronize data from multiple sources, make the process simple and easy without requiring anyone to generate code, and make the whole process more accurate and much less costly.

How does it work?
The Bedrock Data service is based on a hub architecture. Data from multiple sources is collected as it changes, put in a neutral form in the hub, then fed out to other systems. An API is available so that this process can be built into new or existing workloads. The company says it intends to extend this basic process to include versioning so that data can be rolled back to earlier versions in the event of problems.

The process is executed in four basic steps:

  • An initial snapshot of the data on each system is created.
  • The systems are then monitored to detect changes.
  • When a change is detected, the service collects the updated data and translates it into the neutral form.
  • The changes are pushed out to all integrated systems in the appropriate format.
Dan's Take: Scaling the Tower of Babel
I must admit that at first I was skeptical whether this was really a big problem, one worthy of starting up a company. As I listened, however, it because clear that integrating on-premise and cloud-based CRM, sales, ERP, marketing, email, finance, eCommerce and other systems -- that is, overcoming the inherent "Tower of Babel" issues -- could quickly be recognized as an overwhelming, time consuming and costly problem.

Consider the issue from the IT point of view: various teams would need to obtain metadata describing how data is stored and how to access it; then develop tools to gather data and transform it; and finally push it out to other systems accurately and reliably. Does that sound like fun?

It appears that Bedrock Data is taking a well thought-out approach to the problem, and might be a great resource for enterprises that have moved some or all of their workloads into the cloud.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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