Database Design Trends for 2024

As data continues to grow at exponential rates, organizations are finding they need to adapt their database infrastructure and design approaches to keep up. Several key database design trends are emerging that aim to help companies effectively manage large volumes of data from diverse sources, draw timely insights, and ensure flexibility for future needs.

Cloud Databases Become the Norm

The use of cloud platforms for database hosting is expected to become standard practice in most industries in 2024. According to surveys, over 75% of databases will run in the cloud within the next two years. Key drivers are lower costs compared to on-premise infrastructure, automated scalability to accommodate spikes and growth, and built-in high availability and disaster recovery mechanisms.

When designing databases for the cloud, the principles of effective schema and data modeling still apply. But teams need to factor in cloud-specific considerations around scalability, concurrence, caching, redundancy planning and more right from the initial stages to fully benefit from the dynamic resource allocation in the cloud. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures will also gain prominence for offering the best of both cloud and on-premise environments.

Greater Adoption of Open Source and NoSQL Databases

The growing need for flexible and distributed data frameworks is driving faster adoption of open-source and NoSQL databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, and Apache HBase in mainstream business applications. JSON document and graph databases are especially popular for their dynamic schemas that can accommodate unstructured and semi-structured data with ease.

In 2024, over 60% of new database deployments are expected to be on NoSQL platforms. However, traditional relational databases still dominate critical applications like ERPs and CRMs where consistency and integrity are paramount. The optimal strategy is to embrace a polyglot persistence approach where multiple database types are deployed in tandem to serve different application needs.

Containers and Serverless Gain Traction

Containers and serverless computing help deploy databases and related services with lean infrastructure requirements. Containers package just the database engine and dependencies into isolated, lightweight units that are highly portable across environments. Serverless platforms allow the consumption of databases as a service without any underlying infrastructure or administration needs.

Using containerized and serverless databases will see increased uptake over 2024 owing to the agility and consolidation benefits they offer. But developers need to be wary of ephemeral container persistence, connection management, resource constraints, and cold starts while designing such systems. The right use cases that do not expect consistent performance are best suited for serverless database options.

Focus on Enhanced Security and Compliance

With data breaches impacting business reputations and continuity risking steep fines for non-compliance, database security is paramount. Advanced authentication protocols, granular access controls, data masking, activity logging, and network encryption are now baseline requirements. Cloud-hosted databases additionally need firewall-protected network segmentation and controlled authorization mechanisms to prevent external attacks.

Data privacy regulations often mandate geographically confined data residency and processing requirements as well. Support for these needs to be baked into database architectures from the outset. Overall, the focus on governance, risk management, and compliance will drive funding and development efforts around database security and controls in the coming years.

An Uptick in MLOps and AI-powered Databases

To keep pace with business demands, more intelligent capabilities are being built into modern database platforms. Integrating ML Ops (MLOps) pipelines allows large data in databases to be readily available for model training and automated AI lifecycles. Throughputs can scale seamlessly and results can be deployed faster back into applications via MLOps.

There is also the emergence of specialized AI databases developed by tech giants to simplify analytics. AWS offers Amazon Redshift ML, Neo4j has added AI recommendations, and Oracle uses autonomous services for self-repairing capabilities. As AI capabilities relevant to business domains expand, integrating them tightly into databases to harness data-intensive workloads will gain prominence in 2024 application architectures.

Better Data Observability and Management

The exponential distributed data growth is making it hard to track data pipelines and build holistic data catalogs manually. Automated metadata collection tools are now emerging that can scan infrastructure and build centralized data glossaries. Moreover, advanced data governance solutions use ML and analytics to find sensitive data, detect outlier anomalies, and benchmark data quality KPIs.

Another impetus for better observability is the rise of data mesh architectures where ownership is distributed across the organization. In 2024, using centralized data hubs, metadata repositories, and augmented data governance will be key enablers for gaining visibility into such dispersed environments.

Focus on Sustainable Database Operations

Environmental impact is becoming a crucial decision criterion for technology investments. At projected growth rates database infrastructures can leave massive carbon footprints. Cloud platforms help optimize resource allocations and waste better but still entail energy costs. New advancements around using energy-efficient hardware, optimizing query loads dynamically, allowing throttled downloads, and building carbon emission tracking specifically for database systems are thus gaining more attention.

In 2024 sustainability needs to become an integral part of database infrastructure planning and operations. Organizations must invest in database tools that provide environment-related telemetry, analytics that find energy wastage hotspots, and newer architectures that apply principles of green software development.

The Road Ahead

Database management continues to evolve at a rapid pace as to changing business demands around scale, intelligence, and agility. For modern application developers and architects, this necessitates building strong capabilities around cloud platforms, distributed persistence modes, advanced integrations, automation techniques, and sustainable operations. Keeping updated on the latest technology innovations and thinking beyond just performance tuning to focus on flexibility and TCO will be the key to leveraging databases effectively in 2024 as the fuel-driving application success.