Mar 21, 2017 10:04 AM PT

Realm ties PostgreSQL databases to mobile applications

Never the twain shall meet? Realm wants to disprove that saying, at least when it comes to corporate databases and mobile applications.

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Gartner, the analyst firm that makes squillions of dollars advising its enterprise clients on technology decisions, came up with a concept a few years ago entitled Bi-modal IT. From the expectedly wordy Gartner definition, the company defines this approach thusly:

“Bimodal is the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability, the other on exploration. Mode 1 is optimized for areas that are more predictable and well-understood. It focuses on exploiting what is known, while renovating the legacy environment into a state that is fit for a digital world. Mode 2 is exploratory, experimenting to solve new problems and  optimized for areas of uncertainty. These initiatives often begin with a hypothesis that is tested and adapted during a process involving short iterations, potentially adopting a minimum viable product (MVP)  approach.”

It has to be said that many have lambasted Gartner for this bi-modal suggestion, opining that all bi-modal does is create chaos, deliver the worst of both worlds, and hamstring enterprises from actually making much needed changes. In Gartner’s defense, bi-modal came about because of the very real tension that legacy IT systems create: How does an organization innovate when changing existing internal systems feels like trying to walk through quicksand?

It is for this reason that I’m always interested to hear about technologies and approaches that promise to allow organizations to innovate “around the edge.” That is, to do interesting things within the context of existing technologies and platforms.

That is the promise we have today from mobile database vendor Realm. Realm’s reason for being is to enable organizations to build mobile applications the resolve some of the issues around mobility—offline access, data syncing and the like. So, what is their play in the legacy IT world?

PostgreSQL data connector integrates traditional databases with mobile apps

Realm is announcing today its PostgreSQL data connector, a tool that allows organizations to integrate their PostgreSQL databases into the Realm Mobile Platform. Essentially this is a connector that integrates and normalizes the formerly siloed worlds of traditional enterprise databases and new-age mobile applications.

This is important, since building modern, reactive mobile apps fueled by information stored in corporate databases is not easy without a prescriptive method of syncing it and mobile devices in real time. Traditionally, this has been done by developing a customized solution—an approach that isn’t really scalable for an organization wanting to create a large number of different mobile applications.

The other traditional approach, of course, is to create a standalone technology stack. But in doing so, organizations have created a bi-modal rod for their own backs. With the Realm PostgreSQL Data Connector, organizations can now connect their PostgreSQL databases to the Realm Mobile Platform via the Data Integration API. Realm’s Data Integration API comes with pre-built connectors that reliably pass data back and forth in a fault-tolerant manner to other systems in real time.

“Mobile applications are only as useful as the underlying data, and fueling the apps with relevant, timely information has always been a challenge,” said Alexander Stigsen, co-founder and CEO of Realm. “The PostgreSQL Data Connector is the first of many tools Realm will offer to make it easy for developers to tap into all of the information they need in order to create mobile experiences that are productive and engaging.”

This really is a no-brainer, and while it might just cost Gartner a few million dollars in potential bi-modal advisory revenue, it’s a great solution for organizations wishing to innovate around their corporate data.