John Musser
John Musser is an expert in software development, specifically in building highly scalable and resilient software and currently serves as Vice President of Technology at Basho. In his role at Basho, Musser helps drive product strategy and direction for the Basho family of products, which simplify enterprises’ most critical data management challenges. Prior to joining Basho in 2016, Musser founded and led API Science and the ProgrammableWeb.


You have a long standing history as an expert in API strategies. Why do you think API strategies are so valuable to a company and what are your tips for others who want to become an expert in this field?

APIs are so valuable because they enable companies to become platforms, and platforms today provide a tremendous competitive opportunity and strategic advantage. Just look at Apple and Google’s mobile platforms, Salesforce.com’s enterprise SaaS platforms, Amazon’s AWS cloud platforms and so on. All these companies have a platform strategy powered by APIs. To become an expert in this field one should look at the playbook of both these largest API players, but also a new generation of API-first companies like Twilio and Stripe that have disrupted markets through APIs.

Which use cases do you think can benefit most from NoSQL and related distributed computing?

You should start thinking about NoSQL solutions anytime you’re looking at a data-intensive project that is “at scale” — that is, a project with key requirements around high volume, high throughput and high availability. If you look at the use cases that gave rise to this market you’ll see how all those companies needed tools to handle data-at-scale: social networking, eCommerce, telecommunications and so on. As more and more enterprises find themselves with high-volume data needs, whether from customer data, sensor data, or anywhere else, they should evaluate NoSQL as a way to successfully manage and derive value from this data.

What trends do you see gaining steam over the coming year that will impact the use of NoSQL?

The first big trend driving use of NoSQL today is the rapid rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Devices of all sorts, from connected cars to wearables to new connected industrial equipment, all generate tremendous volumes of data. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion things by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day. Both the volume and nature of this data is a natural fit for NoSQL.

The other big trend on the NoSQL horizon is the movement toward integrated data workflows optimized for data processing and analysis at scale. This means NoSQL will become a core component of packaged “stacks” of application components — distributed storage, message queueing, analytics, visualization — which, taken together, accelerate and simplify deploying and managing this class of big data, IoT and analytics applications. This maturation of NoSQL will bring greater value to businesses by allowing them to focus at a higher level, one that’s more results-oriented, rather than spending time and resources on the underlying data plumbing.

What one piece of advice would you like to share with companies that are trying build out big data applications?

The era of monolithic solutions is over and they should choose the right tool for the job at hand. For some companies this can be hard because it often means change; it means moving beyond past assumptions, and introducing new tools, technologies and processes. For example, many of the best NoSQL platforms come from the open-source world, and companies should embrace this approach not fear it.

How do you hope to see the use of NoSQL change?

I’d like to see NoSQL become much easier to adopt. As we talked about earlier, companies should be able to focus on how to get real value from all this data they’re collecting rather than worrying about all the infrastructure and integration logistics needed just to make it work. Today companies are cobbling together data management, analytics and visualization toolsets as part of their own custom data supply chains, but it’s too much work. Just as the idea of well integrated sets of tools like the LAMP stack really accelerated web development, this is happening in the world of NoSQL as well.

Are there any industries you think need to adopt NoSQL over others? Why?

Data plays a bigger and bigger role in driving our economy each year, and every industry that I can think of needs to be leveraging data to improve management of their assets, develop products and improve the quality of their interactions with their customers. At Basho we see how far this has spread, with customers spanning healthcare, telecommunications, ecommerce, gaming, manufacturing, utilities, security and software so I can’t single out any one industry, but those industries looking to leverage IoT data will need to adopt NoSQL and quickly.

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