What Is Programmable Data Infrastructure?

Programmable data infrastructure (PDI) enables application data to be automated, secured for compliance, and delivered via APIs.

Enterprise applications are at the heart of digital transformation. Businesses across industries are in a race to deliver fast, quality, and secure application releases.

Unfortunately, these application programs are often starved for data-ready development and test environments. And security and privacy regulations, including GDPR and CCPA, make data delivery harder and riskier than ever.

Over the last decade, code, servers, storage, compute, and networks have all been automated and can be managed via APIs. 

But data remains heavy, complex, and filled with risk. 

Programmable data infrastructure (PDI) enables application data to be automated, secured for compliance, and delivered via APIs. 

As a result digital transformation programs can run faster and at higher quality, with lower risk.

What are the Requirements of Programmable Data Infrastructure? 

There are 8 critical capabilities to enable modern data infrastructure:

  • Comprehensive APIs for data delivery and version control (e.g. refresh, rewind, integrate, bookmark, and share)
  • API-based integration with DevOps, SRE, and AI/ML tools
  • Non-disruptive data support for all enterprise apps, from mainframe to cloud native
  • Support across the multi-cloud—SaaS, private and public clouds
  • Automated data profiling and masking for compliance
  • Continuous data immutability (time machine) and version control
  • Speed of delivery—ability to handle millions of CI/CD pipeline runs a month
  • Space efficiency to reduce data footprint.

Use Cases For Programmable Data Infrastructure 


Enterprises often rely on legacy systems and applications for business critical operations. Core systems often contain sensitive data for customers, employees, and partners. These systems often anchor digital transformation programs—limiting speed and capabilities.

PDI transforms legacy systems such as ERP, CRM, billing, claims processing, trading, etc. First, fast, compliant data accelerates projects, customization, and upgrades for systems of record.

Second, PDI accelerates development for all upstream and downstream applications, which often require systems integration testing (SIT) before new releases. PDI automates the synchronization of data across multiple systems for SIT testing.

Third, PDI can quickly feed data from core systems for modernization and consolidation of applications to a new target state, on premises or in the cloud. 


Migrating applications between data centers or to private or public clouds is expensive, complex, and risky. Many migrations include a modernization component and will include infrastructure and tool changes that need to be tested for each application.

Most enterprises have seven non-production or lower environments for every production application. As a result, over 80% of migration programs are for non-production environments. 

PDI can enable a thin migration approach, where only one copy of compressed data is migrated and masked, and all downstream application environments are automatically re-created from a shared, secure data footprint.

In addition, PDI streamlines and accelerates application testing and validation, tuning and re-tooling, rehearsals, and cutovers.

Cloud migration and validation programs should all use secure, masked, and compliant data before final rehearsals and cutovers, which can be automated with PDI. Overall, PDI can radically accelerate and de-risk application migration programs.


Everything for application release is getting smaller and faster—microtized.

Organizations have moved from annual to daily releases, from waterfall and agile to DevOps and CI/CD development. Best-in-class companies now release software multiple times a day, even thousands of times a day.

Traditional methods of managing data to support modern development cannot keep pace. Slow data management results in under utilized or compromised development and test environments, which hemorrhages developer productivity.

Companies can no longer afford to wait for IT tickets to be resolved by DBAs, backup, and systems admins.

Programmable data keeps pace with DevOps, CI/CD, and microservices architectures by giving software teams API access to data-ready environments. Environments can be automatically built with the right data provisioned, tests can be run, and environments can be reset or spun down for better utilization.

In addition, API access to data-ready environments allows site reliability engineering teams to quickly recover from system failures, data corruption, and data loss. PDI decreases downtime and MTTR by 65% on average. 

Finally, PDI radically increases the amount of data, especially compliant data, that can be made available for data scientists and AI/ML programs.

De-risking Digital Transformation 

Regional and global privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, are fast evolving. Many industries also have specific data compliance requirements, such as HIPAA and PCI.

Data in non-production environments used for development, QA, and integration pose the highest risk of a data breach or violation of privacy regulations

PDI can automatically profile, mask, and anonymize data to eliminate data security and compliance risks in non-production environments.

Benefits of Deploying Programmable Data Infrastructure 

IDC research shows that PDI dramatically accelerates development productivity, while lowering the overall cost of data operations, IT infrastructure, and data risk.  

Development and testing teams

  • Accelerate development cycles by an average of 40% 
  • Reduces the time to develop new apps by 30% and upgrades by 41%
  • Reduces application errors by 70%

IT Operations 

  • Reduces storage infrastructure costs by 72% 
  • Increases IT staff productivity by an average of 24%

Business Operations

  • Reduces business risk by as much as 76%
  • Decreases data operations costs by as much as 39%

Security and Compliance

  • Improves security management productivity by 28%

Site Reliability Engineering 

  • Decrease production downtime and MTTR outages by 65%


  • Increases primary data access by 50%
  • Enables more complete and accurate modeling

Read about how companies, including Choice Hotels International and Ultimate Kronos Group, are deploying programmable data infrastructure to accelerate digital transformation programs while staying compliant with evolving privacy regulations. 

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