Discover how a DBaaS simplifies database operations and bolsters scalability, cost-efficiency, high availability, disaster recovery, and security for your tech stack.
Many of today’s developers want to dedicate more time to what excites them – creating the applications running the modern world. A database as a service (DBaaS) takes care of the data management part so developers can retrain their focus and leverage more resources than before. Examine what makes DBaaS different from your typical database deployment option, some practical advice for vetting a potential DBaaS provider, and even some frequently asked questions.
What is DBaaS?
Database as a service (DBaaS), also known as a “managed database,” is a cloud computing solution that offers access to database services and handles the customary complexities of managing the underlying software, hardware, and overall database operations.
With a DBaaS model, the data is managed and queried through a user-friendly platform, standard tools, or APIs. There is no physical, on-prem infrastructure to maintain. The database management, including scalability, cost-efficiency, data security, backup, and ongoing maintenance, is relegated to the DBaaS provider. Also, most DBaaS offerings often come with 24/7 customer support and built-in replication for high availability and data backups in the event of an outage.
Benefits of DBaaS
Database management is a full-time job, and the benefit of having a DBaaS provider in charge of this vital aspect of your operations is clear, but how does this cleared hurdle benefit your bigger picture? Here are a few notable advantages of applying a DBaaS to your tech stack.
The “service” part of DBaaS is a clear team advantage. While the cloud provider handles backend patching, backups, and security vulnerabilities, teams can allocate resources and headcounts for high-priority items, like fostering rapid application development. While streamlining operations with a DBaaS offering may cost more than a typical DIY database approach, it could also prove more cost-efficient, particularly for startups and small-to-medium-sized businesses that lack their own data centers or extensive computing resources.
Setting up and running a DBaaS is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. When business needs shift, a database should be able to adjust in tandem and not just scale in moments of growth but with slowdowns as well. In some industries, these fluctuations are merely seasonal and expected.
Consider a Halloween-themed online retailer. Chances are, their spring and summer online traffic figures pale compared to their fall numbers. It makes sense that the database is ready to handle exponential growth in user sessions and sales transactions as Halloween approaches. An application could easily crash in these high-volume circumstances without additional storage or computing resources.
Inversely, once the holiday passes, traffic numbers see a huge drop-off. There’s no need to maintain that same storage capacity level if that seasonal traffic influx has come and gone. It’s up to the service provider to scale those operations, which saves on time and resources and side-steps the highly involved processes of scaling for an on-prem system.
DBaaS is a cloud computing solution, so no on-site infrastructure costs are incurred with this kind of database service. For some organizations, saving on infrastructure translates to lower operational costs, like electricity and rent. It’s not uncommon for rental agreements to be negotiated by square footage – and on-prem hardware can take up lots and lots of space. Any database infrastructure will be housed in a data center on the service provider side.
With a DBaaS solution, the total cost often comes down to a few variables, such as storage, transactions, and operations. Naturally, the more storage required and instances needed for substantial throughput, the higher the costs will be. Still, it makes things simple when teams need a more flexible and bespoke approach to their database spend, where storage and transactions can be increased or reduced as required.
High availability and disaster recovery
The words “latency” and “real-time” don’t mix for today’s applications. In fact, latency, or worse – downtime – is the enemy of all modern apps. In many industries, million-dollar decisions are made with the click of a button. Think of the financial market, where deals are closed in sync with the ticking of the clock, or medical facilities that depend on procuring important patient information in real-time. A failed node when time is of the essence is a nightmare scenario no one wants to materialize.
Ensuring high availability in a distributed system is an indispensable framework for minimizing latency. Load balancing data across all distributed nodes and replicas and creating localized replicas closer to concentrated user bases helps users interact with applications the way they are meant to be. Balancing the load across the nodes in any one availability zone helps guarantee that no single node can be overloaded and eventually fail. In the event of a fail-over, a replica would be automatically provisioned in its place. It is a seamless experience that hopefully leaves the proverbial app user none the wiser.
As an application scales to accommodate steadily growing traffic, it must create a security strategy in response. After all, more users means more security concerns, whether that’s more bots, fraud, hacking systems, damaging data beyond retrieval – the list goes on.
When deciding on a cloud provider, a prudent step toward ensuring the security of your data would be to inquire about a vendor’s controls, protocols, and even data security certifications and attestations.
Managing databases is a huge responsibility, so cloud providers will often undergo the process of completing a Systems and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type 2 Report. This is a highly involved audit conducted by independent, CPA-certified accountant firms that will evaluate all existing cybersecurity controls and protocols in place. To achieve an attestation, a cloud service provider must pass the Trust Services criteria established by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) across these five principles: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
It’s worth inquiring if any potential cloud platform has these kinds of data security recognitions, as that peace of mind can make the DBaaS option especially tempting. It’s also something much more difficult for an in-house team to achieve.
FAQs on DBaaS
Q: What is a DBaaS?
A: A cloud-based database is built, deployed, and accessed in a public, private, or hybrid cloud. A DBaaS has similar functions to a traditional database but offers greater flexibility and is typically more fully managed by the cloud provider as part of the subscription.
Q: What are the benefits of DBaaS?
A: As a managed cloud database service, one of the prime benefits is outsourcing database management, which frees up time and resources and delivers peace of mind. Other benefits of leveraging a DBaaS model include scalability, cost-efficiency, high availability and disaster recovery, and security.
Q: Is DBaaS suitable for small or medium-sized businesses?
A: DBaaS can be an attractive option for small businesses and startups that do not have the resources to establish on-premises infrastructure or the headcount to operate those resources in-house.
Q: Are there any security concerns with DBaaS?
A: A best practice when benchmarking cloud service providers on their data security is to ask if they have passed a SOC 2 Type 2 audit in the past twelve months. It’s an excellent way to guarantee whether or not any cloud databases in question can securely store your data.
Q: Is Aerospike Cloud multi-cloud?
A: Aerospike Cloud is on Amazon Web Services (AWS) with plans to expand to Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. Aerospike Cloud Managed Service is available on all three.