The Hub

FlightStats Open Source Project: Why you should reconsider using a traditional database

“All companies are data businesses now.”

This statement from Forrester relates to the fact that more businesses want to find ways to turn their data into insight and innovation. And we don’t blame them. At FlightStats, we have built our business on aggregating, refining and providing data to other companies so they can make better decisions or create solutions for their customers.

With the rise of analytics and artificial intelligence, it’s clear that “big data” isn’t going anywhere. Data will continue to grow and new technologies will continue to be built around it. In fact, the “big data” market is expected to cross $50 billion by 2017.

But if data volumes continue to expand, how are all these businesses going to manage it? This can become a huge challenge, especially since traditional data storage falls short in so many ways. Most traditional databases are not built to support big, fast or diverse data. Therefore, creating and managing these traditional database systems turns out to be hard and expensive. In the end, working with big data can become burdensome for both the team that maintains the data and the team that needs to consume the data. Luckily, we’ve come up with an alternative.

At FlightStats, we removed many of the risks and complexities associated with data management by creating the Hub. Unlike your typical clunky database, the Hub and it’s data management platform can scale quickly and easily. It has helped the FlightStats team develop data products faster and easier than many companies in our industry. The best part is that it can be used within any type of business that manages any type of data, whether they’re experienced or not.

Using The Hub as opposed to a traditional database benefits your business in three key ways:

1. Traditional databases are expensive. The Hub will save you money.

The Hub is much more cost effective solution compared to other databases because it scales at a better rate. It’s commonly known that traditional databases have difficulty scaling and many storage solutions, such as Oracle, don’t start small. Most databases naturally grow and end up becoming large, slow moving and monolithic structures as more data and more complex organizational methods are applied to them. In the end, the cost of storing large amounts of varying data gets very expensive.

Why commit yourself to a database solution that is hard to expand, expensive to maintain and inflexible? With the Hub, there is no limit to the amount of data you can store. Our Hub has a lot of data in it, but since it’s flexible, it can be scaled in more elastic ways. If you need more data, then you can add more without any physical limitations.

2. Ditch the specialized database engineers. The Hub is easy to use and your team can learn it quickly.

If you wanted to create your own database, then you’d likely have to hire someone to do it. However, hiring someone to create and maintain a database is a challenge because it’s a rare skill set.

If you use the Hub, you don’t need to hire a specialized database engineer. Instead, you can hire young engineers right out of college as opposed to veteran coders who are rare and costly to hire. No master’s degree is required to work with the Hub.

As for your current team members, the barrier to entry to understand and start using The Hub is significantly low. They can learn how to use The Hub in about 30 minutes to an hour.

3. Traditional databases slow development. The Hub is designed for the Cloud.

Since the Hub is easier to work with, it makes development faster. We specifically built the Hub to be very Cloud-like, making it more flexible and giving it the ability to be scaled in elastic ways. Traditional databases are not easy to run in a Cloud environment, which translates into a complicated development process and slow go-to-market ability. It would not be uncommon for a typical database system to make your product development take an entire year.

At FlightStats, we have been known to take an idea and build a whole product within the timeframe of a week, which is considered alarmingly fast in the aviation industry. One of the main reasons we are able to do that is the flexibility offered by the Hub. If you want to accelerate your product development, then you must store and replicate data in a system that is designed for the Cloud.

Traditional databases are hard to manage, costly to expand, slow, inflexible and not easy to run in the Cloud, which translates into sluggish go-to-market ability and complicated maintenance for your entire team. The Hub is the ideal alternative for any business that wants to take advantage of its own data and exchange data with another company. And it’s completely free. We made the Hub open source because we believe in giving back to the developers and data providers who have shared so much with us. Improving processes and making data easily accessible will only help accelerate the development of new innovations that will solve critical problems.

Interested in getting started? You can access the Hub through the Flightstats Github Project. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.