Business and Technology Benefits of Having DBaaS Enabled
DBaaS, or a database cloud, is becoming a very popular concept with organizations of all sizes across the spectrum of industry. Placing database infrastructure concerns with the DBaaS provider frees an organization’s IT and technology departments to focus at an organizational level rather than at an application or department level. With the focus at an organizational level, the IT and technology teams are more closely aligned with the organizational and business needs. The fundamental requirements of an organization have never really changed—they have always aimed for lowered operational expenses (OPEX) and total cost of ownership (TCO). What has changed is the emergence of new platform architecture and software technologies that, working together, deliver on those needs. The opportunity to reduce OPEX and TCO is precisely what is driving the improved acceptance and adoption rate of DBaaS.
Let’s look at some of the intrinsic benefits of deploying DBaaS, which include the basic benefits associated with any cloud solution:
Time-to-market: The nimbleness with which a company reacts and adapts to changing market conditions, competition, and consumer needs and expectations is critical. A core component of any cloud solution is self-service and automation. With a well-planned cloud solution, there is no need to deploy hardware for new projects, and with self-service and automation, the business units become more self-reliant.
Scalability: The combination of inherent concepts of elasticity, consolidation, and resource pooling at a wider organizational level drives scalability in a cloud computing environment. For custom built solutions, the value and benefit of this automatic scaling is even more potent and impressive.
Empowerment: Cloud computing solutions typically have a web-based interface for users. They can be accessed by employees, customers, and partners no matter where they are. With a cloud database, everyone gets to work with the same set of information, and spreadsheet chaos is a thing of the past.
Availability: Combining the benefits of standardization (hardware, software, procedural best practices) and empowerment (self-service, on demand scalability) automatically delivers improved availability.
Let’s go a step further and look at why databases are worthy of their own class in the cloud solution world. We do not see phrases such as “application servers as a cloud” or “web servers as a service” or “exchange servers as a service.” Logically and technically, these concepts can exist, but they do not. Why is that?
Databases are used to store data. As we are all aware, the amount of data being generated, used, and stored is growing exponentially. This ever-growing volume of data needs to mined and analyzed to generate intelligent, actionable information. Now, more than ever, data means everything—it drives financial, operational, and tactical decisions and strategies in every business. But along with all this data come the headaches of tasks such as managing performance, scaling capacity, and backup and recovery strategies.
Databases are often considered the single point of serialization of application processing and logic, usually because application design is not focused on how databases work or the best way to use them. What this means is that designing, managing, and performance tuning databases represents a unique set of skills and talents.
From a computing perspective, resource consumption characteristics and performance needs of a database are unique in nature. Databases, especially untuned databases, can be resource hogs when it comes to storage, CPU, and network resources.
Scaling of databases also presents unique challenges. Scaling can directly impact expenditure on multiple components of the platform and infrastructure, including on the storage subsystem (due to storage volume or performance) and on throughput (in IOPS or MBps).
Databases are a complex component of the application stack. Consequently, the underlying database technology can potentially have a severe impact, positive or negative, on the overall scalability, availability, business continuity, and performance aspects of any given application. When the applications in question are business critical and/or revenue generating, the potential for impact makes the databases a very visible, highly scrutinized component.
From an economics perspective, databases can prove to be one of the costliest, if not the costliest, component of any given application deployment. The database’s application stack, for example, can drive the overall solution cost in the following ways:
Database licensing costs and annual support costs.
Database-specific infrastructure costs, especially those driven by performance initiatives, such as high-performance compute servers, high-performance storage, and in some cases even high-performance networking.
Staffing and resourcing costs for maintaining the database (design, administration, performance tuning, etc.).
Cost of high-performance backup management, storage systems, and infrastructure based on the uptime, recovery point objectives (RPOs), and RTO expectations. (In today’s age of data explosion, databases tend be quite large, and database backup and recovery becomes key.)
Cloud computing, as a concept and a solution, is aimed at resolving these economic concerns. When you add the uniqueness of databases to the mix, you can see the value of deploying a database cloud, or in other words, deploying a DBaaS solution.