Zoho on Tuesday is rolling out CloudSQL, a layer of code that allows corporate developers to access their Zoho application data through a number of different dialects of the SQL database access language.
Data stored in Zoho services--so far, only Zoho DB & Reports--can be accessed now not just via APIs, but from standard SQL drivers like JDBC and ODBC. Support for these traditional client/server technologies should make it easier for developers to transition to cloud-based data, should they be moving in that direction.
I have not tested the performance of this new middleware layer into Zoho's systems, so I don't know if it's a workable solution. But it is a cool tool for companies that want to test the waters with cloud-based apps and storage.
The service is free for now. Zoho spokespeople say they'll be looking at usage and uptake before they "decide if we need to charge for this." Not exactly a cost structure one can budget for, but it's early days for everyone.