On the surface, the title of this blog post sounds like an oxymoron: “containerize your data to unleash it.” After all, aren’t we all trying to avoid siloed, disconnected data? Isn’t compartmentalized data enemy number one of data management?
Yes, it’s true that siloed data is bad (very bad), but that’s not what I mean here when I talk about data containerization. I mean to invoke the same concept of containerization that is now being fervently adopted across the IT landscape: the idea that there are tremendous advantages to be gained by packaging up apps and services into independent “containers” that are flexible enough to be used across a variety of use cases and architectures. These advantages include scalability, agility, reliability, and more efficient use of machine and people resources to name a few.
But what about extending these same benefits of containerization to data? What if there was an easier way to leverage a single body of data across widely differing use cases, regardless of the many disparate native formats that make up that body?
These ponderings seem plausible, and considering how important and ubiquitous data is becoming as a driver of innovation, they seem urgent as well. But as of now, nobody is really talking about it (Liaison being an exception). In fact, a Google search on “data containerization” brings up references to Docker, shipping containers, and even data centers in shipping containers… but not data containerization itself.
So why isn’t data containerization on the collective radar? I think it’s because we’ve been conditioned to think of data as belonging to something else—an artifact of the application or database in which it resides. This unconscious bias, forged over decades of mainframe use, inherently (and unnecessarily) constrains data’s potential at a time when we want to unleash its full power.
If you apply the principles of containerization to data—the idea that data can and should exist independently of governing apps or databases in order to improve accessibility, liquidity, agility and, in turn, simplify the current processes around integration and data management—what might it look like? How would you accomplish it? I think these are very worthwhile questions—ones that I’ll be exploring in my upcoming webinar tomorrow:
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 @ 11am PDT/2pm EST
I hope you will join me!