HCL Commerce has supported traditional relational databases such as DB2 and Oracle for many years. In 2021 we added support for another option, OneDB. This blog talks about why customers are asking us to do this, what features it offers and how you can use OneDB as a cloud native database with HCL Commerce.
OneDB isn’t a completely new database technology. It is based on IBM Informix which HCL provides engineering support for, but OneDB is its own product with its own development stream and roadmap. HCL’s goal with OneDB is to provide customers with a cloud native database solution that can work in the cloud or on premise with the performance that makes it automatically the best choice for solutions like HCL Commerce.
Why introduce a new database for HCL Commerce? The primary reason is that our customers have been asking for a fully cloud native solution to the database component of Commerce. Going fully cloud native for the entire Commerce infrastructure offers many benefits for scalability, high availability, ease of management and costs. For example, with Commerce and OneDB in Kubernetes, install and configuration can be done with a single Helm chart, greatly simplifying deployment, configuration and future updates.
DB2 and Oracle are proven database technologies that helps HCL Commerce deliver the highest performance for its transactional operations and other needs, however they are owned by IBM and Oracle and therefore we have no control over their roadmaps, support, end of service announcements and the like. With HCL OneDB we wanted to have more control, so that we can imagine and deliver on innovation that our customers want without being constrained by other software vendors. The HCL teams working on OneDB and Commerce are joined at the hip, so when Commerce has a requirement, the OneDB team is able to turnaround a new release for it within days – accelerating our overall time to market.
Customers are asking for capabilities that go beyond just a transactional database. OneDB offers versatility to Commerce customers who can use it for the following:
- As a transactional database for Commerce to replace DB2 or Oracle.
- As a time series database for event data, such as from IOT devices.
- As a data warehouse to capture data for analysis.
The fact that its cloud native is big for our customers. HCL Commerce has been cloud native and containerized for some time, so the ability to bring a database that is ALSO containerized and cloud native, sits well with our vision. The cloud native capabilities of OneDB solves some problems for Commerce customers, such as:
- Achieve near-zero downtime for the commerce platform helps clients sell more products and services, with hot-hot capabilities reducing the need for a disaster recovery (DR) site.
- Ability to scale the database layer using Kubernetes, the same way the Commerce application containers can be scaled.
- Ability to distribute those containers into different cloud data centers to create active-active database availability across those different zones and geographically distributed databases for performance or compliance reasons.
- Ability to deploy the database together with Commerce using a single Helm chart, which is much simpler faster and easier for clients, thereby reducing time to market.
- Small footprint, low resource usage for cost efficiency.
For Developers, OneDB for Commerce has also been developed with interoperability in mind. You can use familiar JSON to document data store patterns, but you can do “join” queries across SQL databases and document databases using SQL Drivers and OneDB’s support for the MongoDB API. This avoids having to move all the data into OneDB, and respects customer’s desires to keep data where it is and not create data silos that are difficult to manage.
OneDB’s heritage had an emphasis on low administration. The database was designed to work well in environments where there was no Database Administrator, and so the admin overhead of running it is low. This helps customers with their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), as many manual tasks are automated with OneDB. The OneDB Explore console shows you whats going on, but there isn’t as high a level of active involvement due to its low admin nature.
With Commerce, scaling for peak loads is important. The Commerce and OneDB teams took a lot of time to ensure that prior to launching Commerce with OneDB we tested it under a variety of load scenarios, such as storefront browsing, checkout, search and administrative loads such as data ingest (loading Commerce related product or inventory data in large volumes). Our goal was to provide equal to or better than performance than existing Commerce database options (DB2 or Oracle) with Commerce. We wouldn’t release the product until we had that, and we’re delighted to have achieved that goal.
To learn more, schedule a demo of OneDB – available as an option with HCL Commerce Summer 2021 release.