Everyone knows that the most important thing is the data itself and not the storage or access of it through applications. We don't need Zoho to tell us that. We also know that more and more we are using other storage formats for our data than relational databases -- take XML repositories for instance -- and that we are using other methods to retrieve our data other than SQL.
But what Zoho says we don't know, or don't realize, is that we can use the SQL query language to access our data even when it's not stored within a traditional relational database. At least we can now using Zoho's newest technology CloudSQL.
Zoho always seems to be on the cutting edge of IT, delivering new solutions from their SaaS-based world on a regular basis. Their newest offering is called CloudSQL and it's a new way to access your data stored in the Zoho cloud.
CloudSQL is middleware technology designed to help your organization access your data stored inside Zoho via the SQL query language. The technology allows you to access that data for both your cloud applications and your on-premise applications.
How CloudSQL Works
Here's a quick overview of how CloudSQL works:
- Write your SQL query and send your request off to Zoho. You can do this in one of two ways. You can use Zoho's ODBC/JDBC drivers or you can use Zoho's HTTP Web API.
- Zoho receives the SQL requests and interprets them using its SQL Interpreter. The SQL Interpreter translates the requests into something that the Zoho services can understand. It also creates an internal SQL model that gets passed to the SQL Federator.
- The SQL Federator takes the SQL model and does two things:First it breaks down the request and identifies what Zoho services need to service the request; Second, it then aggregates the results of each service response and sends a single result set back.
Creating the SQL Queries
Zoho provides developers with the all information they need to construct the proper SQL syntax that maps to their applications.
This is what the Entity Mapper is in the diagram above. It maps the data stored in each Zoho service repository into SQL entities like databases, tables and fields.
Using CloudSQL in Zoho
Currently Zoho's CloudSQL is only available for Zoho Reports, and then only using the Select SQL command. You can view an example of this in action.
Insert, update and delete functionality are in the works for Zoho Reports and there are plans to enable this capability across the other Zoho services like CRM and Creator.
What are the benefits of CloudSQL?
- Enables developers to use a language they already know fairly well
- You can access Zoho data easily - there's no lock-in to use the data only for Zoho services
The benefits are obvious and good; however, we could probably name quite a few developers who would love to get rid of using the SQL language for a more easy, straightforward data access method.
Using CloudSQL for Non-Zoho Services
It does sound like Zoho is seeing CloudSQL as an opportunity to expand its wings to help other applications provide their cloud-based data via SQL. They are suggesting that if you are interested in using CloudSQL for your own cloud-based data, they are interested in chatting.
You can read more about CloudSQL and view the Developer documentation on their CloudSQL wiki.
We are curious to know what you think of this new middleware technology. Are you a developer so attuned to the SQL language that you dream of it in your sleep and can't imagine life without it? Or were you happy to see it start to move away as a primary data access tool and wonder what Zoho is really thinking? Let us know.