Interview: Joe Pasqua, Executive Vice President of Products at MarkLogic

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I recently caught up with Joe Pasqua, Executive Vice President of Products at MarkLogic, to discuss how the move to the cloud poses one of the biggest IT opportunities in decades and a host of new challenges. Not only will it change how companies use Big Data, but it’ll vastly increase their speed and agility in being able to do so. Yet this new world is not without risk. Joe brings over three decades of experience as both an engineer and a leader. He has personally contributed to several game changing initiatives including the first personal computer at Xerox, the rise of RDBMS in the early days of Oracle, and the desktop publishing revolution at Adobe. He has over 10 issued patents with others pending. Joe earned simultaneous Bachelor of Science degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1981 from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo where he is a member of the Computer Science Advisory Board.

insideBIGDATA: What’s the biggest risk enterprises face with the cloud?

Joe Pasqua: The biggest risk is data security. That probably isn’t a surprise to anyone. But we need to start distinguishing between layers of security. Make no mistake about it, leading cloud providers have very good security. They do a great job of traditional network and operational security, but in the world of the cloud, that’s not good enough anymore. That’s because, while the cloud environment may be secure, the data inside that environment may not be. Cloud providers can’t help enterprises with data security and that’s what enterprises need to think about. Before moving any sensitive data to the cloud, enterprises need a database that provides a superior level of data security while allowing all the elasticity and flexibility that the cloud promises. Enterprises want faster and smarter access and insight into their data, yet keeping that data secure is critical. That’s where MarkLogic stands alone. We offer the security that enterprises need and the flexibility and agility of a next-generational NoSQL database, built for today’s data environment.

insideBIGDATA: How important is data governance in this security equation?

Joe Pasqua: It’s a top concern and it can stymie even huge enterprises. We see enterprises gathering data, building massive and expensive data lakes, and then getting stuck because they don’t have good data governance. Without that, they’re scared to share data because they might run afoul of regulatory compliance issues or unwittingly expose their crown jewels. They are afraid to give data to a data scientist for analytics because they’re not sure all of the personally identifiable information has been scrubbed from the data. Again, the right database is key. Tools can enable enterprises to easily redact PII, for instance, without a ton of custom work or manual coding. The ability to redact is about hiding and transforming information so that it can be appropriately and smartly shared. People usually think of governance as getting in their way, but governance, done right, actually unlocks the value of data.

insideBIGDATA: Isn’t governance and redaction an issue with on-premise data, too?

Joe Pasqua: It is. But it’s happening more contemporaneously with the cloud. Enterprises are moving to the cloud thinking the flexibility will enable them to take more advantage of their data. To do that, they need to trust that the data can be safely shared. If not properly governed, enterprises can’t share data and they’ll lose benefits of cloud technology.

insideBIGDATA: What role does the database play with vendor lock in?

Joe Pasqua: Enterprises should choose databases that are cloud neutral, meaning they can work in anyone’s cloud or on-premise. Not doing that will leave enterprises at risk of having to rewrite software written for one database before it can be moved to another cloud vendor. This will take time and money and it is an expense that can and should be avoided with database selection.

insideBIGDATA: Why is it important to avoid vendor lock in with a cloud provider?

Joe Pasqua:  Enterprises need options. Vendor lock in means relying too heavily on any cloud provider. We saw this recently with Snap, the parent of Snapchat. It first revealed that it was almost exclusively reliant on Google Cloud and warned that any disruption of or interference with its use of Google Cloud would “seriously harm” its business, its S-1 registration statement said. A week later, Snap said it was investing big time with Amazon Web Services, too, and might build its own infrastructure. By getting locked in with one cloud provider, enterprises will give up their ability to bargain on price. They’ll tie their fortunes to those of another company. They may choose a vendor who won’t ultimately be a winner in this relatively new arena. Or, they might lock in with a vendor only to find, three or four years later, that another vendor has differentiated features that better meet their needs.


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