Is agile data architecture over an open-source framework really all its cracked up to be for the modern business

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How open data architecture is influencing business agility

Verifying and harnessing quality data streams to maximize returns for the business requires quality data architecture. And thanks to the agility and versatility of open-source software, now more than ever dependable, actionable data insights can be deployed across the organization to power business continuity, help optimize efficiencies, and trim down unnecessary overheads.

Data teams are in pursuit of the ideal decision-making architecture that can help constantly (and iteratively) push towards better business and better processes, thinks Heikki Nousiainen, the co-founder and CTO of Aiven, who boils this process down to “this continuous loop of also learning on what we don’t know yet, and what we need to tackle to be successful.”

Data-driven industries “run these cycles of making decisions, and making decisions based on solid data. So that’s kind of the overall trend but that then into the overall challenge on how businesses deal with data and how fast they can process it, and that kind of puts enormous pressure on development teams who are supporting that business,” Nousiainen tells Tech Wire Asia.

“And that’s where we see that open source is a perfect companion in that journey, because it allows for maximum business agility,” he continued. “You can take these technologies to use, build, and experiment on top of them, and see which data is going to drive decisions on things that you think you want to pursue further, or which ones you want to kind of rethink and start over.”

So as businesses progress, they would have to base their decisions on top of data that is current and actionable, which will become an increasingly common operational practice as time goes on and increasing numbers of sectors adopt a data approach to decision-making.

“If we look at logistics chains, for example, being able to optimize and reduce inventories, reduce waste from that part [of the chain] by having data on consumption in real-time and being able to even predict the future consumption,” Nousiainen broke down. “Or being able to do just-in-time manufacturing of components, again reducing inventory and kind of eliminating any waste or wait times out of the process.”

Data has emerged as a major business differentiator, and open-source software today makes up anywhere between 70% and 90% of modern software architecture – making data and open source critical resources for savvy developers in that space, and why the open-source managed services market worth US$21.7 billion in 2021 is slated to more than double to US$50 billion by 2026.

“We started Aiven as a way to offer developers access to these open-source technologies. And we feel that these technologies, they are best in class, they are where the innovation really happens – but nowadays there’s a lot of different use cases as well,” commented the data architecture firm’s co-founder and CTO. “So you have the traditional relational databases as the kind of foundation of many, many applications out there.

“But again, we’re offering access to technologies like Aiven for Apache Kafka for delivering messages in real-time and we just launched Aiven for ClickHouse service for data warehousing and analytics needs. So there’s a lot of different tools that we can help and bring to developers so that they can focus on building application and doing kind of big business differentiating work.”

Not only does open-source data give both the front- and back-end of the business the flexibility and speed to use them immediately without needing to go through any license negotiations or put down a monetary commitment for any code, it also gives companies the freedom to experiment and to pivot to another focus area fast, and without consuming valuable resources.

“Of course, there’s obviously a cost involved in running and operating the [open-source data] system, but they are still quite predictable and something you can use to plan for the future,” commented Nousiainen.

“And then you have the continuous choice with open source that either you can utilize the help of managed service providers like Aiven or then if the business requirement change for any reason, then you still have the continuous choice on either running it on your own or utilizing a different provider,” he added. “So these are definitely the kind of strength of open source – you remaining in full control of your data processing destiny, if you will.”