A cloud database is a type of database that is hosted and managed on a cloud computing platform. Unlike traditional databases that are stored on-premises, cloud databases are accessed online, allowing businesses to retrieve their data from anywhere in the world. Additionally, cloud databases offer scalability, enabling organizations to adjust their storage and processing resources as needed.
Cloud databases are managed by cloud service providers or vendors, eliminating the need for organizations to invest in their own infrastructure. In contrast, traditional databases require dedicated hardware and software and are managed by the organization’s IT department. This can be costly and time-consuming to maintain, while cloud databases offer a more convenient and cost-effective solution.
Cloud databases have several key attributes that make them a popular choice for businesses:
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Cloud databases offer two deployment models: traditional self-management and managed database as a service (DBaaS).
Traditional self-managed cloud databases: In this deployment model, the cloud database is self-deployed and hosted on one or more virtual machines, giving organizations more control over their database.
Managed database service: In this model, the cloud service provider or vendor is responsible for most of the operational, maintenance, and administrative tasks, such as automatic provisioning, scaling, security, updates, and health monitoring. This approach allows organizations to focus on using their database to drive business objectives rather than managing the underlying technology.
Cloud databases offer several benefits over traditional on-premises databases. Here are some of the key advantages:
Scalability: With increased traffic and the requirement for redundancy, on-premises databases may strain a company’s resources to grow infrastructure along with demand. Hardware, IT staff, and energy expenditures are factors. The more simplified scalability of cloud databases removes this potential burden. Theoretically, there are no boundaries to a cloud database’s scalability.
Accessibility: The accessibility of cloud databases offers advantages to that of on-premises systems, especially for enterprises operating in several countries. If your cloud databases allow synchronization, your IT team can access data from anywhere with an internet connection. Moreover, it helps streamline application development; cloud databases enable your team to build and delete databases as required throughout the development phase. This advantage decreases complexity and speeds up the time required to bring new applications to market.
Cost-effectiveness: Cost for cloud-based database systems varies based on the cloud service provider. Price methods include subscription pricing, in which customers pay the same amount each month, pay-per-use pricing, in which you only pay for what you use and hybrid pricing, which incorporates features of the subscription and pay-per-use pricing models. By using cloud databases, companies can avoid the upfront costs of purchasing and maintaining hardware and software for local server installations. Additionally, they can avoid the ongoing costs of hiring and training in-house IT staff to manage these systems. Outsourcing storage to a cloud provider can also potentially save costs, as cloud providers can often offer storage at a lower cost than it would be to purchase and maintain the same amount of storage locally. However, it’s important to note that the cost-effectiveness of cloud databases depends on a variety of factors, including the specific needs of the company, the size and complexity of the database, and the pricing model chosen.
Backup and recovery: Disaster recovery is a set of procedures or actions taken by database administrators to restore data after an unexpected event. Cloud databases, including both NoSQL and traditional SQL databases, offer various backup and recovery options.. While cloud database vendors typically provide backup and recovery solutions, it’s still important for businesses to have their own disaster recovery plans in place to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.
High Availability: Managed databases generally offer data replication, and data redundancy across multiple data centers or regions. This allows systems to remain fully operational and accessible to users even if network disruptions, hardware or software issues occur. DBaaS providers often have multiple copies of the database running across different servers or nodes in addition to means to distribute traffic among database instances.
While cloud databases offer several advantages, there are also some disadvantages that can occur with some DBaaS providers:
Cloud latency refers to the time it takes for a cloud service provider to respond to a client’s request. In cloud computing, cloud service latency is a critical issue, particularly given the exponential growth of data creation and linked devices. The time it takes for data to travel to cloud hosting centers for computing operations and back to the client side can impact cloud computing performance. That’s why having a DBaaS provider that knows how to achieve low latency through geo specific deployments is of the utmost importance when hosting a database in the cloud.
Related resource: How to Reduce Latency and Minimize Outages
White paper: Latency is the New Outage
Vendor lock-in is a potential issue in which an organization becomes too reliant on a specific cloud service provider and faces difficulty migrating its infrastructure to a different provider.
Choosing a cloud database can be challenging, as many options are available with different features and pricing structures. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a cloud database:
Cloud databases can offer many benefits to organizations, but it’s important to follow best practices to ensure that they are used effectively and securely. Here are some key practices to keep in mind:
By following these best practices, organizations can effectively develop, monitor, and manage their cloud database infrastructure. They can ensure that their data is secure, efficiently managed, and supports their business needs.