Five risks of moving your database to the cloud

Turning to the cloud is all the rage. According to the IDC survey spotlight, Experience migrating databases to the cloud63% of enterprises are actively migrating their databases to the cloud, and another 29% plan to do so in the next three years.

This article discusses some of the risks that customers may inadvertently encounter when moving their database to a database as a cloud service (DBaaS), especially when DBaaS takes advantage of open source database software such as Apache Cassandra, MariaDB, MySQL, Postgres or Redis. doing. . At EDB, we classify these risks into five categories: support, service, technology station, cost, and lock-in. Going to the cloud without adequate diligence and risk reduction can significantly increase costs and delay projects and, more importantly, mean that the enterprise does not reap the expected business benefits from cloud migration.

Because EDB focuses on postgrass databases, I will draw specifications from our experiences with postgrass services, but the findings are equally valid for other open source database services.

Base risk. Customers running software for product applications need support, whether they run in the cloud or on campus. Support for enterprise-level software should cover two aspects: expert advice on how to use the product properly, especially in challenging circumstances, and quickly fix bugs and defects that affect the product or move toward the product.

For commercial software, a minimum level of support is bundled with the license. Open source databases do not come with a license. This opens the door for cloud database providers to create and operate database services without having to invest heavily in the open source community to address bugs and provide support.

Customers can evaluate the cloud database provider’s ability to support their cloud migration through open source software release notes and examine team members who are actively participating in the project. For Postgrass, for example, release notes are freely available, and they name everyone who has contributed to new features or bug fixes. Other open source communities follow similar practices.

Open source cloud database providers who are not actively involved in the development and bug fixing process are unable to provide both aspects of support સલાહ advice and quick response to problems જે which pose a significant risk to cloud migration.

Service risk. Databases are complex software products. Many users need expert advice and hands-on assistance to properly configure databases to achieve optimal performance and high availability, especially when moving from familiar on-premises deployments to the cloud. Cloud database providers who do not provide consulting and expert professional services to facilitate this step put themselves at risk in the process. Such providers ask the customer to assume the responsibilities of a general contractor and to coordinate between the DBaaS provider and the potential business services providers. Instead of a single entity they can seek advice to help achieve seamless deployments with the required performance and availability levels, they get stuck in the middle, coordinating between vendors and mitigating problems.

By assuring customers who is responsible for the overall success of their deployment, they clearly understand that this risk can be minimized and that the entity is indeed in a position to successfully run the entire project.

Risk of technical instability. The shared liability model is a key component of DBaaS. When the user manages schema definition and query tuning, the cloud database provider applies minor version updates and major version upgrades. Not all providers are committed to timely upgrades અને and some may lag significantly behind. At the time of writing, Postgrass is lagging behind the open source community for almost three years in the deployment of major Postgrass versions of DBaaS providers. While DBaaS providers can selectively backtrack on security improvements, delayed application in new releases can put customers in a situation where they miss out on new database capabilities, sometimes for years. Customers need to review the provider’s historical track record of applying upgrades to evaluate this exposure.

A similar risk is posed when a proprietary cloud database provider attempts to build their own fork or version of a well-known open source software. This is sometimes done to optimize the software for cloud environment or address license restrictions. The forked version may deviate significantly from the well-known parent or fall behind the open source version. Well-known examples of such fork or proprietary versions are Aurora Postgrass (a postgrass derivative), Amazon DocumentDB (with MongDB compatibility), and Amazon OpenSearch service (originally taken from ElasticSearch).

Users need to be careful when adopting cloud-specific versions of open source software or forks. Capabilities may deviate over time, and the cloud database provider may or may not adopt the new capabilities of the open source version.

Cost risk, Leading cloud database services have not experienced significant real price increases. However, there is a growing understanding that the nature of cloud services can significantly increase cost risk, especially with the transparent cost model in terms of self-service and rapid resilience. In an on-premises environment, Database Administrators (DBAs) and developers must optimize the code to achieve performance with the available hardware. In the cloud, it is more appropriate to ask the cloud provider to increase the input / output operations per second (IOPS), compute, or memory provided to optimize performance. As each additional instance increases costs, such a short-term correction is likely to have a long-term negative cost effect.

Users can reduce the risk of costs in two ways: (1) IOPS, CPU and additional monitoring of memory to make sure they are balanced against the cost of application optimization; (2) Verification of cost models of DBaaS providers to identify and avoid vendors with complex and unpredictable pricing models.

Lock-in risk. Cloud database services can create the “Hotel California” effect, where data cannot easily leave the cloud again, in many ways. When the cost of data exit is frequently mentioned, integration with general data gravity and other cloud-specific tools for data management and analysis is more effective. Data gravity is a complex concept that, at a high level, claims that once a business data set becomes available on a cloud platform, more applications will be deployed using the data on that platform, which in turn makes data less likely. Can be moved elsewhere without significant business impact.

Cloud-specific tools are also a meaningful driver for lock-in. All cloud platforms provide convenient and proprietary data management and analysis tools. While they help achieve business value quickly, they also create lock-ins.

Users can minimize the cloud lock-in effect by carefully avoiding the use of proprietary cloud tools and ensure that they only use DBaaS solutions that support efficient data replication on other clouds.

Planning for risk. Moving databases to the cloud is undoubtedly a goal for many organizations, but doing so is not risk-free. Businesses need to fully investigate and understand the potential vulnerabilities of cloud database providers in the areas of support, services, technology delays, costs and lock-ins. While these risks are not a reason to stay away from the cloud, it is important to address them and understand and mitigate them as part of a cloud migration strategy.

This content was created by EDB. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.

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