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Cloud computing intensifies CIO imperative to connect to data

NEW YORK -- As more organizations move IT operations to cloud computing services, they face a growing challenge to connect to data among an array of different platforms, said Sumit Sarkar, chief data evangelist at Progress, a software company with headquarters in Bedford, Mass.

Data connection is Progress' lifeblood -- the vendor's software lets organizations build applications that can access data across computing systems. Cloud has ramped up the difficulty; the wide assortment of services now used by companies means data gets locked in systems that don't talk to each other and can't be easily accessed.

"You have infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as service," Sarkar says in this video. He spoke to SearchCIO in June at Cloud Expo. "You need to connect and access all this data, but what's happening for a lot of organizations is that each one has a different interface."

Sarkar said Progress wants to give companies the capability to connect to data that sits in their own data centers and in all the cloud services they deploy.

"I guess the theme would be that data can be in any kind of infrastructure. A lot of times they're locked behind firewalls, or they might be locked behind APIs," he said.

How has the cloud changed how organizations connect to data?
 
Sumit Sarkar: In data connectivity we're seeing a lot of areas with different cloud distribution, different modernization strategies. So you have different levels of the, let's say, infrastructure. You have infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as service. And so you have applications deployed in different ranges of those areas. And so with those, you also have data stores, you have APIs, you have databases -- some are big, some are small.

And so what we're seeing in data connectivity is you need to connect and access all this data, but what's happening for a lot of organizations is that each one has a different interface. And so what we've seen, data connectivity, is it's all about building against standards -- things like, there's kind of the old trusted SQL standards that have been around for decades, but they're really prevalent in analytics. 
 
So your data engineers, your data scientists, they really trust those standards. And then there's the new kind of REST APIs, and there's an industry standard called OData. So that makes it easy for you to access any kind of data regardless of where the cloud is.

The other piece in the cloud world is there's now networking rules, firewalls, regulations, so data connectivity has changed for us. At Progress, we now are looking at accessing data behind firewalls and across clouds and different deployments. I guess the theme would be that data can be in any kind of infrastructure. A lot of times they're locked behind firewalls, or they might be locked behind APIs.

And so a lot of things to think about. So I guess I've illustrated this chaotic landscape, and that's what I think the folks are seeing across organizations is, 'How do I get that data, how do I get the detail I want, and how can my team make sense of it?'

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