Cloud Databases: Advantages and Challenges
It is all around us. Cloud computing has permeated our daily lives in how we live and work. More than ever, companies and organizations turning to cloud computing are discovering both its benefits and challenges along the way. While it has seen great success, cloud computing has shown its fair share of risks and concerns not to be overlooked. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing in detail.
Probably the most emergent technology to come out in the past ten years has been cloud computing. It paved the way for companies and the public alike to interact with each other over the internet, increasing information transactions by incredible amounts. It has become one of the most essential technologies in use today that companies cannot live without.
Big picture cost savings
At the core of any business is its mandate to turn a profit whenever possible, while keeping expenses in check. Cloud computing takes your capital expenses of servers, and infrastructure to zero with any reduced minimal costs coming from operations (licenses etc. no hardware). Operational costs of maintaining in-house servers and other equipment is no longer a factor.
Data storage is no longer an issue for capacity planning in IT as cloud storage is dynamic and you will only need to pay for what you use.
Your provider will bear the brunt of server maintenance, patches, compliance, security etc. They can do it for substantially less cost than your business due to economies of scale.
Big picture reliability
It is in the best interest of any cloud solutions provider to invest in their infrastructure. It is to your benefit that this happens as your cloud providers understand without an uptime of 99.999999999% (yes that is nine ‘9’s) and redundancy built into the network, they will be liable for significant downtime. These providers are able to invest heavily, knowing many companies rely on stability and consistency as reputation makers or breakers.
DBaaS SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) very often will include provisions for service and availability uptime with perhaps an inclusion of financial penalties or compensation paid by the cloud DB provider in the event guarantees are not met.
Databases in the cloud vs traditional databases
For those on the fence about making this move, read on. It can be a bit intimidating to migrate your ‘at the office’ database (DB) to a new Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offering.
Traditional databases require companies to plan, purchase, deploy, maintain and update all the software and hardware needed to support the on-premise DB operations. Just the cost savings alone may sway you to consider DBaaS as an option. Aside from the extra cost in staffing required to keep your DB running smoothly, you will also be dedicating your IT team to maintaining governance, compliance and security as priorities, taking away from other potentially impactful tasks.
A look at DBaaS
A DBaaS is a cloud service that takes over the management of the underlying infrastructure and resources traditional databases require, leaving companies to take advantage of the extra productivity increase and reallocate resources according to core business needs.
This design frees up smaller companies to get started quickly without the need to hire specialists permanently on-site.
Running the DBaaS means your DB will grow as you grow without need for investing in capacity planning. Your DBaaS will have the ability to easily scale up and down according to business peak periods of demand. Additionally, performance guarantees, failover support, declining pricing and specialized expertise are all advantages over traditional on-premises DB’s.
While there are many cloud providers that offer DBaaS out there, the main market leaders currently are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
It is increasingly getting easier to run DB’s in the cloud. It offers an excellent option for many reasons, but all told, there are still a few areas where you will need to verify in order to consider what’s important before migrating.
Not all cloud solutions offer unlimited or scaling storage. It is important to clarify with your provider in advance. Data tiering, cloud volumes etc. are various options to inquire about with your potential cloud DB provider.
Security and protection
Are cloud services secure? This question is often one of the first to get asked. To be upfront, they are only as secure as you make them. Discuss options with your provider that allow for protection of data with ‘point-in-time’ snapshots. Further, high-availability ensures downtime from data loss remains insignificant.
How well your DB runs in the cloud is another major concern to address in advance. Your cloud solution provider will take care of the underlying infrastructure for your DBaaS. That now leaves storage performance is the next question most often asked. As often is the case, storage performance is often tied to how much capacity you provision for public clouds. Basically, this means either you will need to over-provision your capacity to see significant performance out of the DB or opt into an expensive ‘provisioned performance’ storage option. This is something requiring attention as large performance spikes from your workloads may increase your DBaaS, resulting in increased costs.
Operationally, one key advantage is the amount of flexibility of choice you have with DBaaS.
Technology business advisers would somewhat be at a loss to decide which type of database would be most appropriate for the company’s enterprise deployment. Of course, there are the safe choices, SQL, Oracle, MySQL, MSSQL or Sybase to name a few. But interestingly enough, solutions like MongoDB or Cassandra could very well give the organization greater scope in analyzing unstructured or big data sources.
There are options available using a DBaaS platform. It is possible for the organization to experiment at the very least in advance before settling on what the final choice would be.
In addition to choosing your best option for DBaaS, our expert team at Blue Claw Database provide Database Development for your new DBaaS solution.
Hierarchical, network, relational, object-oriented, entry relationship, document and entity-attribute-value, are just a few of the various DB development options we offer. Using agile best practices, our DB architects collaborate with front and back-end programmers to quickly bring your data-driven solution into production.