Where 2021 Will Take Databases


I usually try to spend some time looking forward at the end of the year and guessing what will happen. Last year I didn't spending time looking at 2019 and then the decade. I started the year with what I thought were normal topics: learning, patches, and code comments. I was looking forward to a sabbatical and quite a few work and personal trips at this time last year. Sixty-some days in, the world changed.

We've adapted to the new world. I've watched customers and businesses become cautious, but the last few months it seems that many of them are looking for ways to not just survive, but thrive. That's been our mantra at Redgate as we close out 2020 and look forward. I suspect that many others feel the same way.

With that, I do expect that the main platform I work on, SQL Server, will take some leaps forward, and I suspect that we may see a new version in late 2021. I don't have any information here, but it seems that SQL Server news has been somewhat sparse in 2020, but I can't imagine this continuing. With the dissolution of PASS, I would bet Microsoft pushes to have a new version and some sort of event near or with Ignite in the fall that announced SQL Server.

I also expect that we will see more and more integration and movement to the cloud. I've been surprised the last few years with the number of companies going to the cloud for databases, and I think this will continue as local leases expire and companies look to take tax advantages of the OpEx for cloud services. I see and hear fewer complaints from DBAs about the cloud, and as more companies move, I expect there to be less.

I was surprised to see some comments in the last few weeks about how DevOps and cloud services aren't compatible with Sarbannes-Oxley or some other regulation. CapitalOne is a large bank, the 11th biggest in the US (by asset size), and they have not only completely embraced Devops, but they are 100% in the cloud, with no local data centers. That is the future I see for more and more companies. Local development machines, possibly local build (I like this), but everything from QA downstream to production in the cloud.

Lastly, I think the #sqlfamily and SQL community will continue to thrive and share information in the new year. I have been worried about SQL Saturday continuing. I placed a bid for the domain, but I don't know what will happen. No response from PASS, so I'm not sure they have any interest in working with me. However, a number of us have started to move forward with Data Saturdays. There are a few events and I expect more, but more importantly, I think we'll have a few live events in 2021. I'm certainly hoping to find a way to get a small one in Denver, in a safe manner.

Other than that, I think we will continue to see people use some sort of non-relational (NoSQL) database for projects. Some will work, many will find that RDBMSes work really well. We'll see more microservices work, though I'm not sure we will get a lot of change. Data has a lot of inertia, and it can be hard to make big changes to our platforms in many organizations.

One thing I know if there will continue to be a lot of opportunity for those that work with data, so keep brushing up on skills, pick up new ones, and find ways to get excited about data related topics.