An Introduction to Cloud-Based Database Workloads and Choices to Make

It is a key decision to move your enterprise DBMS from on-premises to a cloud database. It is not only a technological shift but a fundamental cultural shift too. Considering this, the most immediate question comes into everyone’s mind: how do you want the database to run in the cloud environment. Can you just switch the gears and move forward with a DBaaS offering, or do you have to go with the managed storage services offered by the cloud IaaS providers? In this article, we are trying to discuss the pros and cons of various cloud options and ways to meet the challenges of running a cloud-based database.  

Major challenges in DBaaS cloud vs. managed cloud storage

The traditional databases will require the companies to provide their resources and infrastructure to manage their own-premise databases. Cloud has now revolutionized the DB fields, which are now available on a pay-as-you-use basis, which allows the enterprises to trade OPEX or CAPEX spending. Cloud providers also offer database migration services to help enterprises to migrate their data to the cloud from their premise.

However, the cloud offers much more than scalable storage and resources. It has many add-on services too. Cloud services now offer the database users different options during cloud transitioning. One such option is to avail IaaS cloud for managing an abstract version of the traditional ownpremise database management. Another option is to avail of Database as a Service (DBaaS).

Database as a Service

DBaaS is a cloud service that can take over the management of underlying infrastructure and the resources needed by databases. This allows the organizations and the database admins to take advantage of such services and free themselves up to focus more on other developmental tasks. In the smaller enterprises, DBaaS can let the business to be up and running quickly without any need for tedious database setups, but DBaaS can set it up quickly in a few clicks.

Being the leaders in the cloud market, Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, etc., offer the DBaaS services in different flavours like MySQL cloud, PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, Oracle, and NoSQL databases like Hadoop and MongoDB. Database as a service like what AWS offers include add-ons like Amazon RDS and Amazon Aurora etc. Azure database offers services including Azure for MySQL, Azure SQL Database, Azure for PostgreSQL etc. Google Cloud is now offering Cloud Spanner and Cloud SQL for relational DBs and Cloud Firestore, Cloud Bigtable etc., for NoSQL.

Managed storage for Cloud DBaaS

Instead of going for database services, you can also build a database on the cloud using IaaS to compute the storage resources. As a result, such a database will work the same way as the legacy systems you operate on-premise, except that the infrastructure will be virtualized. Running a cloud database will make it easier for users to grow along with their needs.

In addition to scaling up or down based on the changing demands, you can also enjoy full peace of mind regarding security and availability aspects too now as the cloud providers enable database replication across different geographical locations. In addition to different data backup and recovery options, there are many additional benefits to this model while used, combined with managed storage services. Using data management platforms like the Cloud Volumes ONTAP, databases can ensure a lot of automation features, which will help reduce the cost and increase efficiency.

On the other hand, there are some additional challenges too to consider while choosing cloud-based database services.  If you face such challenges, providers like can come into help on a consulting basis. Let us further consider how to look at these challenges and how to address the same.

Major Database Challenges in Cloud

Whether you consider a DBaaS service or choose to manage a database that is built on cloud components by yourself, there are still many areas you have to consider before deciding the right approach. Here are some such major considerations to make. 

  • Size Limitations: This can make a big difference between choosing DBaaS vs. managed storage services. DBaaS services have continuously expanded their capacity limits over the last several years and now come with auto-scaling features. However, there are still some limits when it comes to seamless storage. However, modern-day enterprise databases need to have the ability to grow over time, and you should look for ways to overcome such limitations with managed storage services.
  • Data Protection: It is a higher possibility that you may be putting your database in the cloud in the future, but still, that needs to protect and backed up. DBaaS comes with the daily snapshots and backups as default service, but sometimes this is not enough in the enterprise-scale scenarios. Managed storage services can help here, too, which offer point-in-time snapshot copies and high availability. 
  • Performance of storage: Another major consideration in the cloud is the database storage performance. In the public cloud, the storage layer’s performance is often tied to the capacity of your provision. Here, the users can either over-provision the capacity to get the needed performance out of managed database service. You may also try to switch to a more expensive larger capacity disk option. If there are expected larger performance spikes on your data load, it means that the storage needed for the DBaaS also may increase your cost.
  • Database Cloning: Database cloning is often needed during the development and testing stages. However, this may hurt the cost and performance based on the cloud option you choose. On DBaaS, the cloud databases’ clones may essentially be full copies of your database, which means that all the underlying database capacity is duplicated. Managed storage options offer a more flexible approach to cloning, which allows you to create any number of writable clones in a space-efficient manner.

Many cloud-based databases now benefit from managed storage capabilities like high availability, efficiently cutting down the cloud data storage cost, better data protection, reliable backup, higher-level performance etc. Considering these facts, you may make your cloud DB choice diligently and successfully.

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