THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF

DATABASE AS A SERVICE
(DBAAS)
Companies have long used relational database management systems...
THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF
DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS)

WHAT IS DBaaS

DBaaS is a cloud database deployment model that ...
THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF
DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS)

THE BENEFITS OF DBaaS

The benefits of DBaaS vary, based on the...
THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF
DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS)

PROVIDER CONSIDERATIONS

Once a decision has been made to pursu...
THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF
DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS)

What If Your Databases are SQL Server-dependent?
While a number...
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The Whats, Whys and Hows of Database as a Service

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Companies have long used relational database management systems (RDBMS) to power their mission-critical applications. However, these systems have proven to be cumbersome to manage as more and more applications with database back-ends are deployed. They can’t automatically scale their resources in response to varying workload demands, licensing costs continue to escalate, and ongoing administration including monitoring, backups, and event remediation is onerous.

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The Whats, Whys and Hows of Database as a Service

  1. 1. THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBAAS) Companies have long used relational database management systems (RDBMS) to power their mission-critical applications. However, these systems have proven to be cumbersome to manage as more and more applications with database back-ends are deployed. They can’t automatically scale their resources in response to varying workload demands, licensing costs continue to escalate, and ongoing administration including monitoring, backups, and event remediation is onerous. The emergence of cloud technologies and enhancements in database platforms have spawned solutions to these challenges, including one known as database as a service (DBaaS). This article provides a high-level overview of DBaaS, its benefits, considerations for implementation and what to think about when choosing a DBaaS provider. A section is also included which focuses specifically on a solution for companies with SQL Server-dependent applications. IT INFRASTRUCTURE | CLOUD | MANAGED SERVICES PEAK10.COM
  2. 2. THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS) WHAT IS DBaaS DBaaS is a cloud database deployment model that delivers a powerful, on-demand database platform that streamlines provisioning, administration, recovery, scaling and security. Specialized expertise can be employed, leveraging economies of scale for routine administration, backup, recovery and tuning tasks, alleviating the weakness of system administrator generalists while freeing up time to focus on more strategic initiatives. DBaaS ensures consistent database security and IT best practices across multiple databases. Although it is designed for mission-critical applications, many companies use it, at least initially, for applications that are given lower priority due to a lack of DBA resources. While DBaaS is similar to a “hosted database,” it offers far improved security isolation. Benefits are also derived from the intersection of cloud characteristics related to the underlying infrastructure including rapid elasticity, metered billing, the illusion of infinite supply and ubiquitous access. HOW DBaaS WORKS With DBaaS, a company subscribes to resources needed to operate its own databases for the duration of the subscription. Database resources are provisioned quickly, allowing line of business owners, systems administrators, application developers, architects, testers and other database users to store and retrieve data without dealing with computer and storage hardware, operating systems, or database server administration. Companies subscribe to a service from a DBaaS provider that provisions a specific level of CPU, memory and storage resources on a multi-tenanted system. The DBaaS provider manages the capacity of the environment behind the scenes without any efforts on the part of the consumer, making sure that rapid growth is possible at the moment it is needed. Some services may allow bursting above the consumer’s resource subscriptions to access unused capacity in the system when utilization conditions permit. Depending on the DBaaS provider and type of DBaaS product, companies can connect their database with an application that is running on-premises, in a public cloud or in the DBaaS provider’s data center. With DBaaS, users offload the administrative overhead of the operating system, server and storage hardware, network, security and computing facilities (space, power, cooling). This allows staff to concentrate on the application that utilizes the database, which is where value is truly generated. The changes to existing development processes or production environments vary from provider to provider. Some allow native connectivity of application servers and development tools, making the change near zero while some providers introduce a middleware layer that requires the modification of code to use the new interface. Regardless of the architectural specifics, it is expected that a DBaaS subscriber can only view their own databases; the databases and associated metadata belonging to other DBaaS users are not accessible. While some companies could build their own DBaaS-like solution in-house, most find the task daunting and cost-prohibitive due to a lack of in-house expertise to build the solution, the need for ongoing maintenance and the high costs for licensing fees. The benefits of database server consolidation are realized but the other areas for potential cost savings and focus are not. A DBaaS provider takes care of the database management system licensing and maintains the software, operating system, hardware and all other aspects of the environment, making DBaaS a cost-effective, easy-to-implement, easy-tooperate option. 2.27.2014 IT INFRASTRUCTURE | CLOUD | MANAGED SERVICES PEAK10.COM
  3. 3. THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS) THE BENEFITS OF DBaaS The benefits of DBaaS vary, based on the provider and how the solution is structured, but can include: • A shift from capital expense (CapEx) for hardware and software to operating expense (OpEx) for the database service. Companies can realize significant cost savings by purchasing database capacity and functionality as needed, and don’t have to invest in advance of future requirements. • Rapid or on-demand, self-service-based database provisioning. DBaaS allows for provisioning an environment in a very short period in contrast to days or weeks, thus reducing time to market. • The ability of the customer to leverage existing servers and storage through automated resource management across standalone, clustered, virtualized and non-virtualized. • The ability to outsource the administration and monitoring of databases such as backup, recovery, tuning, optimization, patching, upgrading and creation. Based on the policies that are defined by DBAs, database administration tasks can be automated — scheduled or proactively initiated to support various database activities. • Granular metering of database usage that can be used for chargeback to various database users. Tracking is typically based on usage time, space, availability guarantees and resource consumption and provides an aggregated view per database. • Freeing up of IT staff to focus on the logical administration of the database and the application data. The DBaaS provider provides a comprehensive database operating environment and a service-level agreement (SLA). Internal IT staffs don’t have to build and manage the physical environment, and physical database administration tasks are offloaded to the DBaaS provider. • Repurposing servers and storage. Servers and storage are often underutilized; DBaaS offers the ability to repurpose system resources more efficiently, resulting in significant cost savings. • Support for faster application development and testing. DBaaS enables faster provisioning of new databases and automates the administration process, which helps organizations deliver database instances faster to developers, testers and architects. • Improved availability for various applications. DBaaS can improve high availability of databases, especially for non-critical applications, by enabling failover of databases to available system resources. Typically these best practice architectures would not be cost effective in a dedicated environment. WHO SHOULD CONSIDER DBaaS From early-stage start-ups to multi-national corporations, companies of all sizes can potentially benefit from being able to outsource and consolidate database management tasks on a standardized and optimized platform. DBaaS solutions are particularly ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses that have found in-house database solutions cost-prohibitive and that lack in-house expertise. DBaaS provides these businesses with access to the same technologies that were once limited to the budgets of only large enterprises. For larger companies, DBaaS can offer solutions at the departmental level without bringing in IT or procurement, providing a much quicker, easier way to implement line of business solutions. DBaaS is also extremely beneficial for companies with use cases involving database functionality that requires rapid provisioning or on-demand scalability. That includes proof-of-concept environments and development and testing environments for new applications, unified application life-cycle environments on a single platform, seasonal or varying demand applications, and cost-effective business continuity/ disaster recovery (BC/DR) environments. 2.27.2014 IT INFRASTRUCTURE | CLOUD | MANAGED SERVICES PEAK10.COM
  4. 4. THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS) PROVIDER CONSIDERATIONS Once a decision has been made to pursue DBaaS, there are a number of things to consider when selecting a provider. Among them is the database platform that is being used to power the offering. While a number of open source and proprietary relational database offerings are on the market, customers that require easy migration and portability between the cloud and on-premises systems (assuming the same database platform) must be sure that the provider can support enterprise-grade systems. Because DBaaS is accessible via the public Internet or private IP connections, DBaaS providers should integrate a number of security measures into their service offering to ensure the integrity of the data and to guard against unauthorized access. That can include encryption of data in flight, firewall controls that set policies for user access and inbound/outbound port traffic and rules on the geographic location of data. Make sure that any DBaaS provider you are considering is also current with the latest software patches and updates and can address emerging security issues. Other considerations include regulatory compliance mandates such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), service level agreements (SLAs), bursting policies, backup/recovery capabilities, data center footprint and locations, enterprise-class compute and storage infrastructure along with appropriate vendors support and how management responsibilities are delegated between the DBaaS provider and the customer. GETTING STARTED WITH DBaaS Before diving into a DBaaS solution there is upfront work required to help ensure successful implementation. First, gather all prospective stakeholders within your organization and engage in some high-level planning. Although DBaaS can help automate database provisioning and administration, it requires coordination between database, system, network, storage and application teams to ensure that business requirements, such as security policies and performance needs, are met. Determine which databases and servers should be part of the DBaaS subscription, who will be allowed to manage databases and what kind of system resource policies will need to be established. DBaaS is not just for DBAs and systems administrators; it can also be leveraged by developers, testers, architects and project managers with no database experience. They can provision a database themselves, or perform basic database functions such as backup, recovery and data movement. Nor is DBaaS limited to test, development, training or other nonproduction databases as it can be extended to include production- and mission-critical databases. With a plan in place, start small and add more databases and resources over time. Begin with noncritical applications and add tens of databases initially to the DBaaS platform before adding hundreds. The more databases added to the DBaaS platform, the more savings that can potentially be achieved through repurposing hardware. 2.27.2014 IT INFRASTRUCTURE | CLOUD | MANAGED SERVICES PEAK10.COM
  5. 5. THE WHATS, WHYS AND HOWS OF DATABASE AS A SERVICE (DBaaS) What If Your Databases are SQL Server-dependent? While a number of DBaaS solutions are available for companies whose applications are SQL Server-dependent, Peak 10 is among the first DBaaS providers that offers a solution that leverage the power of Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012. Peak 10 SQL as a Service (SQLaaS) is a high availability, secure DBaaS solution. Powered by Microsoft SQL Server® 2012, it provides access to a high-performance, multi-tenant database environment for running, developing and testing Microsoft SQL-dependent database applications. The architecture utilizes Microsoft Windows failover clustering and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 technologies to provide multiple secondary database replicas, which users may connect to via a single endpoint. The environment has been tested and scaled to support enterprise-level production workloads. Resource levels can be quickly and cost-effectively scaled based on business needs, without interrupting operations all while providing availability guarantees, performance assurances, and reduced costs compared to dedicated database environments. Always Available Peak 10 SQL as a Service leverages the enterprise features of Microsoft SQL Server 2012, including AlwaysOn Availability Groups, to provide both business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR), delivering a best practices database environment topology for production applications. Unlike typical hosted database or cloud database solutions, which provide little fault tolerance, Peak 10 SQL as a Service provides local and geographic redundancy with: • A primary replica • A local secondary replica (synchronous/automatic failover) for business continuity • A geo-diverse replica (asynchronous/manual failover) for disaster recovery Business continuity keeps the platform up and running during scheduled maintenance events, which are required to keep a database environment secure and performing well. All systems are always monitored 24/7/365, and are bolstered by Peak 10’s SQL experts and PCI DSS and HIPAA/HITECH compliant, redundant cloud infrastructure. Always Secure Using SQL Server 2012’s Resource Governor, computing resources are isolated and controlled to protect databasedependent application’s performance. In addition, Peak 10 SQL as a Service is purposefully access-restricted to within Peak 10’s network to reduce potential attack vectors. It also employs firewall protection to limit which specific systems are allowed to connect. Always Managed Many organizations do not have full-time, on-staff SQL Server expertise to deal with the challenges of ideal environment architecture, system performance tuning due to change/scale and the day-to-day troubleshooting events that inevitably arise. Peak 10 SQL as a Service puts the responsibilities of round-the-clock, best practices monitoring and management in the hands of Peak 10’s SQL Server experts and enterprise-class management platforms. Peak 10 will provide valuable information to customers’ IT, development and/or database (DBA) personnel, empowering them with data around key health and performance indicators (KPI/KHI) used to optimize application or database performance. 2.27.2014 IT INFRASTRUCTURE | CLOUD | MANAGED SERVICES PEAK10.COM

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