Aug
08
2018
--

Oracle’s database service offerings could be its last best hope for cloud success

Yesterday Oracle announced a new online transaction processing database service, finally bringing its key database technology into the cloud. The company, which has been around for over four decades made its mark selling databases to the biggest companies in the world, but as the world has changed, large enterprise customers have been moving increasingly to the cloud. These autonomous database products could mark Oracle’s best hope for cloud success.

The database giant, which has a market cap of over $194 billion and over $67 billion in cash on hand certainly has options no matter what happens with its cloud products. Yet if the future of enterprise computing is in the cloud, the company needs to find some sustained success there, and what better way to lure its existing customers than with its bread and butter database products.

Oracle has demonstrated a stronger commitment to the cloud in recent years after showing much disdain for it. In fact, it announced it would be building 12 new regional data centers earlier this year alone, but it wasn’t always that way. Company founder and executive chairman Larry Ellison famously made fun of the cloud as “more fashion driven than women’s fashion.” Granted that was in 2008, but his company certainly came late to the party.

A different kind of selling

The cloud is not just a different way of delivering software, platform and infrastructure, it’s a different way of selling. While switching databases might not be an easy thing to do for most large companies, the cloud subscription payment model still offers a way out that licensing rarely did. As such, it requires more of a partnership between vendor and customer. After years of having a reputation of being aggressive with customers, it may be even harder for them to make this shift.

Salesforce exec Keith Block (who was promoted to Co-CEO just yesterday), worked at Oracle for 20 years before joining Salesforce in 2013. In an interview with TechCrunch in 2016, when asked specifically about the differences between Oracle and Salesforce, he contrasted the two company’s approaches and the challenges a company like Oracle, born and raised in the open prem world, faces as it shifts to the cloud. It takes more than a change in platform, he said.

“You also have to have the right business model and when you think about our business model, it is a ‘shared success model’. Basically, as you adopt the technology, it’s married to our payment schemes. So that’s very, very important because if the customer doesn’t win, we don’t win,” Block said at the time.

John Dinsdale, chief analyst and managing director at Synergy Research, a firm that keeps close watch on the cloud market, agrees that companies born on-prem face adjustments when moving to the cloud. “In order to survive and thrive in today’s cloud-oriented environment, any software company that grew up in the on-prem world needs to have powerful, cost-effective products that can be packaged and delivered flexibly – irrespective of whether that is via the cloud or via some form of enhanced on-prem solution,” he said.

Database as a Service or bust

All that said, if Oracle could adjust, it has the advantage of having a foothold inside the enterprise. It also claims a painless transition from on-prem Oracle database to its database cloud service, which if a company is considering moving to the cloud could be attractive. There is also the autonomous aspect of its cloud database offerings, which promises to be self-tuning, self-healing with automated maintenance and updates and very little downtime.

Carl Olofson, an analyst with IDC who covers the database market sees Oracle’s database service offerings as critical to its cloud aspirations, but expects business could move slowly here. “Certainly, this development (Oracle’s database offerings) looms large for those whose core systems run on Oracle Database, but there are other factors to consider, including any planned or active investment in SaaS on other cloud platforms, the overall future database strategy, the complexity of moving operations from the datacenter to the cloud, and so on. So, I expect actual movement here to be gradual.” he said.

Adam Ronthal, an analyst at Gartner sees the database service offerings as Oracle’s best chance for cloud success. “The Autonomous Data Warehouse and the Autonomous Transaction Processing offerings are really the first true cloud offerings from Oracle. They are designed and architected for cloud, and priced competitively. They are strategic and it is very important for Oracle to demonstrate success and value with these offerings as they build credibility and momentum for their cloud offerings,” he said.

The big question is can Oracle deliver in a cloud context using a more collaborative sales model, which is still not clear. While it showed some early success as it has transitioned to the cloud, it’s always easier to move from a small market share number to a bigger one, and the numbers (when they have given them) have flipped in the wrong direction in recent earnings reports.

As the stakes grow ever higher, Oracle is betting on what it’s known best all along, the databases that made the company. We’ll have to wait and see if that bet pays off or if Oracle’s days of database dominance are numbered as business looks to public cloud alternatives.

Aug
07
2018
--

Oracle launches autonomous database for online transaction processing

Oracle executive chairman and CTO, Larry Ellison, first introduced the company’s autonomous database at Oracle Open World last year. The company later launched an autonomous data warehouse. Today, it announced the next step with the launch of the Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing (ATP) service.

This latest autonomous database tool promises the same level of autonomy — self-repairing, automated updates and security patches and minutes or less of downtime a month. Juan Loaiza SVP for Oracle Systems at the database giant says the ATP cloud service is a modernized extension of the online transaction processing databases (OLTP) they have been creating for decades. It has machine learning and automation underpinnings, but it should feel familiar to customers, he says.

“Most of the major companies in the world are running thousands of Oracle databases today. So one simple differentiation for us is that you can just pick up your on-premises database that you’ve had for however many years, and you can easily move it to an autonomous database in the cloud,” Loaiza told TechCrunch.

He says that companies already running OLTP databases are ones like airlines, big banks and financial services companies, online retailers and other mega companies who can’t afford even a half hour of downtime a month. He claims that with Oracle’s autonomous database, the high end of downtime is 2.5 minutes per month and the goal is to get much lower, basically nothing.

Carl Olofson, an IDC analyst who manages IDC’s database management practice says the product promises much lower operational costs and could give Oracle a leg up in the Database as a Service market. “What Oracle offers that is most significant here is the fact that patches are applied without any operational disruption, and that the database is self-tuning and, to a large degree, self-healing. Given the highly variable nature of OLTP database issues that can arise, that’s quite something,” he said.

Adam Ronthal, an analyst at Gartner who focuses on the database market, says the autonomous database product set will be an important part of Oracle’s push to the cloud moving forward. “These announcements are more cloud announcements than database announcements. They are Oracle coming out to the world with products that are built and architected for cloud and everything that implies — scalability, elasticity and a low operational footprint. Make no mistake, Oracle still has to prove themselves in the cloud. They are behind AWS and Azure and even GCP in breadth and scope of offerings. ATP helps close that gap, at least in the data management space,” he said.

Oracle certainly needs a cloud win as its cloud business has been heading in the wrong direction the last couple of earnings report to the point they stopped breaking out the cloud numbers in the June report.

Ronthal says Oracle needs to gain some traction quickly with existing customers if it’s going to be successful here. “Oracle needs to build some solid early successes in their cloud, and these successes are going to come from the existing customer base who are already strategically committed to Oracle databases and are not interested in moving. (This is not all of the customer base, of course.) Once they demonstrate solid successes there, they will be able to expand to net new customers,” he says.

Regardless how it works out for Oracle, the ATP database service will be available as of today.

Nov
01
2014
--

Backup and restore of MySQL to OpenStack Swift

MySQL database usage is popular in OpenStack. Core OpenStack services for Compute (Nova), Storage (Cinder), Neutron (Networking), Image (Glance) and Identity (Keystone) all use MySQL database.

MySQL – as the world’s most popular database, runs inside OpenStack Virtual Machines and serves as database backend to OpenStack cloud based applications. The MySQL instances can be configured to run in virtual machines manually (by simply installing MySQL inside a VM and running it) or can be created in an on-demand fashion by OpenStack Database-as-a-Service (Trove).

In either case, the MySQL data is mission-critical. OpenStack cloud administrators and cloud guests/tenants need the ability to backup and restore their MySQL databases. mysqldump is traditional way of doing MySQL backups and restores. However, based on previous experiences of the MySQL community, it is widely known that mysqldump has limitations especially when it comes to speed of backup and restore as databases grow larger.

Percona XtraBackup overcomes these limitations and enables faster, non-blocking MySQL backups and restores on larger datasets. It also offers other important abilities such as streaming and encryption. It works with MySQL as well as all the variants such as Percona Server and MariaDB. And all this is open source and free. Percona XtraBackup is popular and widely used in the MySQL community. More recently it has seen adoption within OpenStack context. It is at the heart of backup/restore for Rackspace Cloud DbaaS. OpenStack Database-as-a-Service (Trove) implementation uses Percona XtraBackup as a pluggable backend for database backup and restore.

Until now, however, Percona XtraBackup did not have the ability to do streaming backup and restores of MySQL databases to cloud storage targets such as OpenStack Swift or Amazon Web Services S3. xbcloud tool is a new contribution from Percona that changes this. At a basic level, the tool enables MySQL backups to OpenStack Swift.

OpenStack Swift is the Object Service of OpenStack. It offers a high availability data storage platform that scales horizontally and offers disaster recovery of data across multiple datacenters and geographies. It is the default and popular choice for storing backups of infrastructure and tenant data in OpenStack clouds.

How does xbcloud tool work? xbcloud uploads and downloads full or part of xbstream archive to/from OpenStack Swift. So what is xbstream? xbstream is a streaming format available in Percona XtraBackup that overcomes some limitations of traditional archive formats such as tar, cpio and others which did not allow streaming dynamically generated files, for example dynamically compressed files.

Archive uploading will employ multipart upload for Large Objects on Swift. Along with this, the xbstream archive index file will be uploaded which contains list of files and their parts and offsets of those parts in xbstream archive. This index is needed for downloading only part of archive (one or several tables from backups) on demand.

Details of usage and examples follow.

Backup:

innobackupex --stream=xbstream /tmp | xbcloud [options] put <name>

Example:

innobackupex --stream=xbstream --extra-lsndir=/tmp /tmp |
xbcloud put --storage=Swift
--swift-container=test
--swift-user=test:tester
--swift-url=http://192.168.8.80:8080/
--swift-key=testing
--parallel=10
full_backup

Restore:

xbcloud [options] get <name> [<list-of-files>] | xbstream -x

Example:

xbcloud get --storage=Swift
--swift-container=test
--swift-user=test:tester
--swift-url=http://192.168.8.80:8080/
--swift-key=testing
full_backup | xbstream -xv -C /tmp/downloaded_full
innobackupex --apply-log /tmp/downloaded_full
innobackupex --copy-back /tmp/downloaded_full

Interested? Try it out. Percona XtraBackup and xbcloud are open source and free. You can find instructions to download, usage and release notes for PXB 2.3 Alpha (which includes xbcloud) here.

So what is next? We at Percona are excited about the possibilities with this new xbcloud tool and Percona Xtrabackup in general. Our most immediate next steps would be to act on community feedback, address bugs and issues and move towards GA soon.

Beyond that we are looking to enhance xbcloud to support other cloud platforms such as AWS S3 and Google Cloud Engine.

We would love to hear from you on this. You could either leave feedback directly as comments to this post or can file enhancement requests and bugs here.

The post Backup and restore of MySQL to OpenStack Swift appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

Oct
14
2014
--

Rackspace doubling-down on open-source databases, Percona Server

Rackspace doubling-down on OpenStack TroveFounded in 1998, Rackspace has evolved over the years to address the way customers are using data – and more specifically, databases. The San Antonio-based company is fueling the adoption of cloud computing among organizations large and small.

Today Rackspace is doubling down on open source database technologies. Why? Because that’s where the industry is heading, according to Sean Anderson, Manager of Data Services at Rackspace. The company, he said, created a separate business unit of 100+ employees focused solely on database workloads.

The key technologies under the hood include both relational databases (e.g., MySQL, Percona Server, and MariaDB) and NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB, Redis, and Apache Hadoop).

Last July Rackspace added support for Percona Server and MariaDB to their Cloud Databases DBaaS (Database-as-a-Service) product, primarily at the request of application developers who had been requesting more open source database support options.

Matt Griffin, Percona director of product management, and I recently sat down with Sean and his colleague Neha Verma, product manager of Cloud Databases. Our discussion focused on the shift to DBaaS as well as what to expect in the future from Rackspace in terms of Cloud Databases, OpenStack Trove and more.

* * *

Matt: Why did you expand the Cloud Databases product this past summer?
Sean:  We launched cloud databases about a year and a half ago. Since then we’ve rolled feature after feature (backups, monitoring, configuration management, etc…) focused on simplifying our customers life, this backed by Fanatical support has made the product easier to use and more production ready than ever. We understand that features aren’t enough so in addition to all the features we have also made significant improvements to the hardware and network infrastructure. All this means that we’ve been very busy not just expanding the offering but also making the offering simpler to use, more complete and more scalable.

Our vision is to offer a robust platform that with the most popular Big Data, SQL, and NoSQL databases on dedicated, bare metal, and public cloud infrastructure.

Matt: What type of customer is your Cloud Databases offering aimed at?
Sean: Currently we have a variety of customers running multiple Cloud Database instances ranging from customers running a two-month marketing campaign to customers running web applications, ecommerce applications with highly transactional database workloads. Our customers prefer the simplicity and reliability of the service which allows them to focus on their business and not worry about the heavy lifting associated with scaling and managing databases.

Matt: How is your Cloud Databases offering backed-up?
Neha: We use Percona XtraBackup  to perform a hot copy of all databases on a instance and then stream the backups to Cloud Files for storage. A customer can anytime restore the backup to a new instance. Percona XtraBackup is the only option we offer customers right now.

Tom: In terms of security, how do you address customer concerns? Are cloud-based open source databases more secure?
Sean: Data security concerns are at an all-time high and we have a number of up and coming features that continue to address those concerns.   Today we offer a number of unique features specifically Cloud Databases can only be accessed on the private network so the database can only be accessed by systems on your private network. Additionally, we support SSL for communication between user application and database instance so that any data transfer is encrypted in transit.  These features along with the built in user controls and authentication mechanisms help significantly address customers security concerns.  Ultimately Cloud-based open source databases or no more or less secure than any other database, security is about more than features it is about the process and people that build and manage your database and we have those more than covered.

Matt: Is this for production applications or pre-production?
Sean: It’s very much production capable. While there’s a perception that this type of offering would only fit for use cases around test or dev, the truth is we are running hundreds of very large, fully managed instances of MySQL on the cloud. We don’t make any delineation between production or pre-production. However, we’re definitely seeing more and more production workloads come onto the service as people are getting educated on the development work that we’ve done around adding these new features. Replication and monitoring are the two most popular right now.

Matt: How are people accessing and using it?
Sean: A majority of our users either access the database via the Control Panel, API or a command-line utility.

Matt: Since the launch, how has the reaction been?
Sean: The reaction from the press standpoint has been very positive. When we talk with industry analysts they see our commitment to open source and where we are going with this.

OpenStack_PerconaTom: How committed is Rackspace to OpenStack?
Sean: We all live in OpenStack. We have tons of Rackers heading to the upcoming OpenStack Paris Summit in November. We’re looking forward to many years of contributing to the OpenStack community.

Tom: Last April, Rackspace hosted several sessions on OpenStack and Trove at the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo 2014 in Santa Clara, Calif. What are you looking forward to most at Percona Live 2015?
Sean: For us, Percona Live is about listening to the MySQL community. It’s our best opportunity each year to actually setup shop and get to learn what’s top of mind for them. We then can take that information and develop more towards that direction.

Tom: And as you know we’re also launching “OpenStack Live” to run parallel to the Percona Live MySQL conference. OpenStack Live 2015 runs April 13-14 and will emphasize the essential elements of making OpenStack work better with emphasis on the critical role of MySQL and the value of Trove. I look forward to hearing the latest news from Rackspace at both events.

Thanks Sean and Neha for speaking with us and I look forward to seeing you this coming April in Santa Clara at Percona Live and OpenStack Live!

On a related note, I’ll also be attending Percona Live London (Nov. 3-4) where we’ll have sessions on OpenStack Trove and everything MySQL. If you plan on attending, please join me at the 2014 MySQL Community Dinner (pay-your-own-way) on Nov. 3. (Register here to reserve your spot at the Community Dinner because space will be limited. You do not need to attend Percona Live London to join the dinner).

The post Rackspace doubling-down on open-source databases, Percona Server appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

Aug
25
2014
--

OpenStack’s Trove: The benefits of this database as a service (DBaaS)

In a previous post, my colleague Dimitri Vanoverbeke discussed at a high level the concepts of database as a service (DBaaS), OpenStack and OpenStack’s implementation of a DBaaS, Trove. Today I’d like to delve a bit further into Trove and discuss where it fits in, and who benefits.

Just to recap, Trove is OpenStack’s implementation of a database as a service for its cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). And as the mission statement declares, the Trove project seeks to provide a scalable and reliable cloud database service providing functionality for both relational and non-relational database engines. With the current release of Icehouse, the technology has begun to show maturity providing both stability and a rich feature set.

In my opinion, there are two primary markets that will benefit from Trove: the first being service providers such as RackSpace who provide cloud-based services similar to Amazon’s AWS. These are companies that wish to expand beyond the basic cloud services of storage and networking and provide their customer base with a richer cloud experience by providing higher level services such as DBaaS functionality. The other players are those companies that wish to “cloudify” their own internal systems. The reasons for this decision are varied, ranging from the desire to maintain complete control over all the architecture and the cloud components to legal constraints limiting the use of public cloud infrastructures.

With Trove, much of the management of your database system is taken care of by automating a significant portion of the configuration and initial setup steps necessitated when launching a new server. This includes deployment, configuration, patching, backups, restores, and monitoring that can be administered from either a CLI interface, RESTful API’s or OpenStack’s Horizon dashboard. At this point, what Trove doesn’t provide is failover, replication and clustering. This functionality is slated to be implemented in the Kilo release of OpenStack due out in April/2015.

The process flow is relatively simple. The OpenStack Administrator first configures the basic infrastructure by installing the database service. He or she would then create an image for each type of database they wish to support such as MySQL or MongoDB. They would then import the images and offer them to their tenants. From the end users perspective only a few commandes are necessary to get up and running. First issuing the <trove create> command to create a database service instance, followed by <trove list> command to get the ID of the instance and finally trove show command to get the IP address of it.

For example to create a database, you first start off by creating a database instance. This is an isolated database environment with compute and storage resources in a single tenant environment on a shared physical host machine. You can run a database instance with a variety of database engines such as MySQL or MongoDB.

From the Trove client I can issue the following command to create a database instance called PS_troveinstance, with a volume size of 2 GB, a user called PS_user, a password PS_password and the MySQL datastore (or database engine):

$ trove create –size 2 –users PS_user:PS_password –datastore MySQL PS_troveinstance

Next I issue the following command to get the ID of the database instance:

$ trove list PS_troveinstance

And finally, to create a database called PS_trovedb, I execute:

$ trove database-create PS_troveinstance PS_trovedb

Alternatively, I could have just combined the above commands as:

$ trove create –size 2 —-database PS_trovedb users PS_user:PS_password –datastore MySQL PS_troveinstance

And thus we now have a MySQL database server containing a database called PS_trovedb.

In our next post on OpenStack/Trove, we’ll dig even further and discuss the software and hardware requirements, and how to actually set up Trove.

On a related note, Percona has several experts attending this week’s OpenStack Operations Summit in San Antonio, Texas. One of them is Matt Griffin, director of product management, who pointed out in a recent post that many OpenStack operators use Percona open source software including the MySQL drop-in compatible Percona Server and Galera-based Percona XtraDB Cluster as well as tools such as Percona XtraBackup and Percona Toolkit. “We see a need in the community to understand how to improve MySQL performance in OpenStack. As a result, Percona, submitted 16 presentations for November’s Paris OpenStack Summit,” Matt said. So stay tuned for related news from him, too, on that front.

The post OpenStack’s Trove: The benefits of this database as a service (DBaaS) appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

Aug
25
2014
--

OpenStack’s Trove: The benefits of this database as a service (DBaaS)

In a previous post, my colleague Dimitri Vanoverbeke discussed at a high level the concepts of database as a service (DBaaS), OpenStack and OpenStack’s implementation of a DBaaS, Trove. Today I’d like to delve a bit further into Trove and discuss where it fits in, and who benefits.

Just to recap, Trove is OpenStack’s implementation of a database as a service for its cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). And as the mission statement declares, the Trove project seeks to provide a scalable and reliable cloud database service providing functionality for both relational and non-relational database engines. With the current release of Icehouse, the technology has begun to show maturity providing both stability and a rich feature set.

In my opinion, there are two primary markets that will benefit from Trove: the first being service providers such as RackSpace who provide cloud-based services similar to Amazon’s AWS. These are companies that wish to expand beyond the basic cloud services of storage and networking and provide their customer base with a richer cloud experience by providing higher level services such as DBaaS functionality. The other players are those companies that wish to “cloudify” their own internal systems. The reasons for this decision are varied, ranging from the desire to maintain complete control over all the architecture and the cloud components to legal constraints limiting the use of public cloud infrastructures.

With Trove, much of the management of your database system is taken care of by automating a significant portion of the configuration and initial setup steps necessitated when launching a new server. This includes deployment, configuration, patching, backups, restores, and monitoring that can be administered from either a CLI interface, RESTful API’s or OpenStack’s Horizon dashboard. At this point, what Trove doesn’t provide is failover, replication and clustering. This functionality is slated to be implemented in the Kilo release of OpenStack due out in April/2015.

The process flow is relatively simple. The OpenStack Administrator first configures the basic infrastructure by installing the database service. He or she would then create an image for each type of database they wish to support such as MySQL or MongoDB. They would then import the images and offer them to their tenants. From the end users perspective only a few commandes are necessary to get up and running. First issuing the <trove create> command to create a database service instance, followed by <trove list> command to get the ID of the instance and finally trove show command to get the IP address of it.

For example to create a database, you first start off by creating a database instance. This is an isolated database environment with compute and storage resources in a single tenant environment on a shared physical host machine. You can run a database instance with a variety of database engines such as MySQL or MongoDB.

From the Trove client I can issue the following command to create a database instance called PS_troveinstance, with a volume size of 2 GB, a user called PS_user, a password PS_password and the MySQL datastore (or database engine):

$ trove create –size 2 –users PS_user:PS_password –datastore MySQL PS_troveinstance

Next I issue the following command to get the ID of the database instance:

$ trove list PS_troveinstance

And finally, to create a database called PS_trovedb, I execute:

$ trove database-create PS_troveinstance PS_trovedb

Alternatively, I could have just combined the above commands as:

$ trove create –size 2 —-database PS_trovedb users PS_user:PS_password –datastore MySQL PS_troveinstance

And thus we now have a MySQL database server containing a database called PS_trovedb.

In our next post on OpenStack/Trove, we’ll dig even further and discuss the software and hardware requirements, and how to actually set up Trove.

On a related note, Percona has several experts attending this week’s OpenStack Operations Summit in San Antonio, Texas. One of them is Matt Griffin, director of product management, who pointed out in a recent post that many OpenStack operators use Percona open source software including the MySQL drop-in compatible Percona Server and Galera-based Percona XtraDB Cluster as well as tools such as Percona XtraBackup and Percona Toolkit. “We see a need in the community to understand how to improve MySQL performance in OpenStack. As a result, Percona, submitted 16 presentations for November’s Paris OpenStack Summit,” Matt said. So stay tuned for related news from him, too, on that front.

The post OpenStack’s Trove: The benefits of this database as a service (DBaaS) appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

Jul
23
2014
--

DBaaS, OpenStack and Trove 101: Introduction to the basics

We’ll be publishing a series of posts on OpenStack and Trove over the next few weeks, diving into their usage and purpose. For readers who are already familiar with these technologies, there should be no doubt as to why we are incredibly excited about them, but for those who aren’t, consider this a small introduction to the basics and concepts.

What is Database as a Service (DBaaS)?
In a nutshell, DBaaS – as it is frequently referred to – is a loose moniker to the concept of providing a managed cloud-based database environment accessible by users, applications or developers. Its aim is to provide a full-fledged database environment, while minimizing the administrative turmoil and pains of managing the surrounding infrastructure.

Real life example: Imagine you are working on a new application that has to be accessible from multiple regions. Building and maintaining a large multiregion setup can be very expensive. Furthermore, it introduces additional complexity and strain on your system engineers once timezones start to come into play. The challenge of having to manage machines in multiple datacenters won’t simplify your release cycle, nor increase your engineers’ happiness.

Let’s take a look at some of the questions DBaaS could answer in a situation like this:

– How do I need to size my machines, and where should I locate them?
Small environments require less computing power and can be a good starting point, although this also means they may not be as well-prepared for future growth. Buying larger-scale and more expensive hardware and hosting can be very expensive and can be a big stumbling block for a brand new development project. Hosting machines in multiple DC’s could also introduce administrative difficulties, like having different SLA’s and potential issues setting up WAN or VPN communications. DBaaS introduces an abstraction layer, so these consideration aren’t yours, but those of the company offering it, while you get to reap all the rewards.

– Who will manage my environment from an operational standpoint?
Staffing considerations and taking on the required knowledge to properly maintain a production database are often either temporarily sweeped under the rug or, when the situation turns out badly, a cause for the untimely demise of quite a few young projects. Rather than think about how long ago you should have applied that security patch, wouldn’t it be nice to just focus on managing the data itself, and be otherwise confident that the layers beyond it are managed responsibly?

– Have a sudden need to scale out?
Once you’re up and running, enjoying the success of a growing use base, your environment will need to scale accordingly. Rather than think long and hard on the many options available, as well as the logistics attached to those changes, your DBaaS provider could handle this transparently.

Popular public options: Here are a few names of public services you may have come across already that fall under the DBaaS moniker:

– Amazon RDS
– Rackspace cloud databases
– Microsoft SQLAzure
– Heroku
– Clustrix DBaaS

What differentiates these services from a standard remote database is the abstraction layer that fully automates their backend, while still offering an environment that is familiar to what your development team is used to (be it MySQL, MongoDB, Microsoft SQLServer, or otherwise). A big tradeoff to using these services is that you are effectively trusting an external company with all of your data, which might make your legal team a bit nervous.

Private cloud options?
What if you could offer your team the best of both worlds? Or even provide a similar type of service to your own customers? Over the years, a lot of platforms have been popping up to allow effective management and automation of virtual environments such as these, allowing you to effectively “roll your own” DBaaS. To get there, there are two important layers to consider:

  • Infrastructure Management, also referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), focusing on the logistics of spinning up virtual machines and keeping their required software packages running.
  • Database Management, previously referred to DBaaS, transparently coordinating multiple database instances to work together and present themselves as a single, coherent data repository.

Examples of IaaS products:
– OpenStack
– OpenQRM

Ecample of DBaaS:
– Trove

Main Advantages of DBaaS
For reference, the main reasons why you might want to consider using an existing DBaaS are as follows:

Reduced Database management costs

DBaaS removes the amount of maintenance you need to perform on isolated DB instances. You offload the system administration of hardware, OS and database to either a dedicated service provider, or in the case where you are rolling your own, allow your database team to more efficiently manage and scale the platform (public vs private DBaaS).

– Simplifies certain security aspects

If you are opting to use a DBaaS platform, the responsibility of worrying about this or that patch being applied falls to your service provider, and you can generally assume that they’ll keep your platform secure from the software perspective.

– Centralized management

One system to rule them all. A guarantee of no nasty surprises concerning that one ancient server that should have been replaced years ago, but you never got around to it. As a user of DBaaS, all you need to worry about is how you interface with the database itself.

– Easy provisioning

Scaling of the environment happens transparently, with minimal additional management.

– Choice of backends

Typically, DBaas providers offer you the choice of a multitude of database flavors, so you can mix and match according to your needs.

Main Disadvantages
– Reduced visibility of the backend

Releasing control of the backend requires a good amount of trust in your DBaaS provider. There is limited or no visibility into how backups are run and maintained, which configuration modifications are applied, or even when and which updates will be implemented. Just as you offload your responsibilities, you in turn need to rely on an SLA contract.

– Potentially harder to recover from catastrophic failures

Similarly to the above, unless your service providers have maintained thorough backups on your behalf, the lack of direct access to the host machines means that it could be much harder to recover from database failure.

– Reduced performance for specific applications

There’s a good chance that you are working on a shared environment. This means the amount of workload-specific performance tuning options is limited.

– Privacy and Security concerns

Although it is much easier to maintain and patch your environment. Having a centralized system also means you’re more prone to potential attacks targeting your dataset. Whichever provider you go with, make sure you are intimately aware of the measures they take to protect you from that, and what is expected from your side to help keep it safe.

Conclusion: While DBaaS is an interesting concept that introduces a completely new way of approaching an application’s database infrastructure, and can bring enterprises easily scalable, and financially flexible platforms, it should not be considered a silver bullet. Some big tradeoffs need to be considered carefully from the business perspective, and any move there should be accompanied with careful planning and investigation of options.

Embracing the immense flexibility these platforms offer, though, opens up a lot of interesting perspectives too. More and more companies are looking at ways to roll their own “as-a-Service”, provisioning completely automated hosted platforms for customers on-demand, and abstracting their management layers to allow them to be serviced by smaller, highly focused technical teams.

Stay tuned: Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing a series of posts focusing on the combination of two technologies that allow for this type of flexibility: OpenStack and Trove.

The post DBaaS, OpenStack and Trove 101: Introduction to the basics appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

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