What is a Cloud Database?
Cloud database refers to a kind of a database service which is built and accessible using cloud technology.
- End users can implement the system by installing a database software program on the computing platform.
- It can be in the form of a public, private, or a combination of both known as a hybrid mode.
- End users can then directly insert, save, manage, edit, and retrieve information from the cloud database in two ways. They can opt to use a suitable web browser for that purpose.
- Alternatively, the end-users can hire a reliable vendor providing them with an application program interface (API). Unlike traditional databases, they can scale the cloud-based version during a run-time.
Features of a Cloud Database System
The salient features of any cloud database system are as follows:
- The database service is built and accessible through a cloud-based operating platform,
- End users can easily host the database without having to buy the necessary hardware components,
- End-users can manage the cloud database themselves using a web browser or hire a service provider,
- It can easily support both NoSQL and relational databases like MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Apache CouchDB and MySQL,
- End-users can access information from the database service via web interface or API which the vendor provides, and
- The cloud database can store both structured and unstructured information content.
How do cloud databases work?
The functioning of cloud databases generally falls into two broad categories, just like their traditional counterparts. These are as follows:
Relational cloud-based databases
These databases use structured query language (SQL) to create a series of interconnected tables. The tables are then further sub-divided into groups of columns and rows, which are known as fields. A computer program called a scheme designs the structure and defines the relationship between the individual fields. Moreover, the information contained within cloud-based databases needs to be consistent to function correctly. Popular examples of cloud-based relational databases include IBM DB2, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle.
Nonrelational cloud-based database
Nonrelational cloud databases do not use tabular schema consisting of rows and columns. They employ a specific storage model that is optimized to meet the requirements of information content being kept. The cloud-based technology, which operates nonrelational databases is suitable for storing all forms of unstructured data. This could be in the form of videos, visual content from social media, and photos.
Management of cloud databases
End users can choose any one of the following management styles to control and manage their cloud-based databases:
Self-managed cloud databases
These are models where the end-users depend on cloud technology to operate their databases. However, they use their in-house resources to manage the information content of their databases. This allows them to retain complete ownership and control of their cloud-based database systems.
Automated cloud databases
In these models, the end-users rely on application program interfaces (APIs) to support their systems’ lifecycle operations. The service provider they choose to work with provides them with this software. However, the end-users have access to all the necessary servers, control configurations, and operating systems.
Managed cloud databases
Specialists of RemoteDBA.com explained to us why these models are similar to automated cloud database versions. They told, however, cloud vendors do not give their clients access to the servers that host their databases. They cannot even install their software programs into the system.
Autonomous cloud databases
These are cloud database models that use machine learning to automate the tasks of database administrators. These include carrying out performance tuning, security checks, backups, data recovery, and updates. This eliminates the need for any human assistance in managing the database system.
Types of cloud-based databases
The types of cloud-based database systems which end users can choose for their businesses are as follows:
Traditional cloud-database systems
In this system, the database is compatible with the end-users’ present on-premises infrastructure. They instruct their employees to operate it using a virtual machine. The tasks of carrying out backups, security checks, updates, and performance tuning fall on them.
Database as a service (DBaaS)
Under this system, the end-users operate their databases on a reliable vendor’s physical infrastructure. They can manage the information contained within the databases according to their specific needs. However, the maintenance of the various servers is the responsibility of the vendor. For this service, they pay a subscription charge to the vendor.
Managed hosting arrangements
This is similar to the database as a service, but the vendor manages the database for his clients. He even maintains the physical infrastructure for them. This cloud-based database system is suitable for the end-user who has hardly any IT knowledge and expertise.
Factors to consider when choosing a cloud database
End users should consider the following factors when choosing the right cloud-based database for their business:
- Whether they intend to retain full ownership of the database including the infrastructure or hire a vendor,
- Whether a traditional relational cloud database using SQL language is suitable for their businesses or the NoSQL version,
- What type of security features will the end-users’ vendor provide to protect their valuable data,
- Is it feasible for the end-users to maintain the database system with their staff? and
- Another aspect that end-users need to take into account is the performance of the cloud database.
Benefits of cloud databases
The benefits of owning, maintaining, and managing cloud databases for end-users are as follows:
- The installation, testing, validation, and operationalization of cloud databases is not a time-consuming process,
- With cloud databases, end-users do not have to incur infrastructure costs, especially when opting for DBaaS,
- Cloud-based databases are versatile enough to be scalable to meet the growing needs of their businesses, and
- End users can gain access and control to their cloud-based databases in a matter of minutes.
Installing and operating suitable cloud database systems allows end-users to automate their business processes without any difficulties. This makes it easier for them to conduct their commercial operations in the market efficiently. They can gain access to the databases instantly without having to incur any infrastructure costs. Moreover, the installation, testing, and validation of systems do not take much time. This implies they can operate their database and gain access to the information content instantly.