Selecting the Best Database for Your Organization, Part 2

Franco Rizzo is Senior Pre-sales Architect at TmaxSoft.

Editor’s Note: The first part of this article examined enterprise database strategies for: on-premise/private cloud and hybrid cloud. Next up, how to approach your strategy for public cloud; appliance-based and virtualized environments.

Public Cloud

The main advantage with public cloud is its almost infinite scalability. Its cost model, too, is an advantage, with pay-as-you-go benefits. It offers faster go-to-market capability and gives an enterprise the ability to utilize newer applications, as using legacy applications in the cloud can be challenging.

As in a hybrid cloud, sprawl can also be a problem in the public cloud. Without a strategy to manage and control a public cloud platform, costs can spiral and negate the savings and efficiency. But keep in mind that the public cloud may open the door to shadow IT, creating a security issue.

Data visibility is another downside; once data goes into a cloud, it can be hard to determine where it actually resides, and sovereignty laws can come into play for global enterprises. Trust in the public cloud is an issue for CIOs and decision makers, which is why hybrid – the best of both worlds – is such a popular deployment option.

Public clouds also are often homogenous by nature; they are meant to satisfy many different enterprises’ needs (versus on premise, which is designed just for one company), so customization can be challenge.

While a public cloud is Opex friendly, it can get expensive after the first 36 months. Keep TCO in mind when deploying a workload: its lifecycle and overall cost benefit, as well as how the true cost of that application will be tracked.

Latency issues can occur, depending how an enterprise has architected its public cloud and how it has deployed applications or infrastructure, which can greatly affect the quality of user experience. To improve performance, distributing apps and data close to a user base is a better solution than the traditional approach, where everything is in one data zone.

Disaster recovery will be built in, so there is no need for enterprise to architect it on its own. Security with a public cloud is always a challenge, but can be mitigated with proper measures such as at-rest encryption and well-thought-out access management tools or processes.

Appliance Database

Traditionally, this is an on-premise solution – either managed by a vendor or in an enterprise’s own data center. There are many popular vendors that provide this solution, and using one vendor to control the complete solution can offer performance and support gains.

However, this also can be a disadvantage, because it locks an enterprise into a single vendor, and appliance-based databases tend to be a niche, use-case-specific option. Vendor selection is an essential process to make certain that the partnership works both in the present and the future.

Appliance databases, because of their specialized, task-specific nature, are expensive. They can be cost-effective over time if they are deployed properly.

Virtualized Database

One advantage of virtualization is the ability to consolidate multiple applications onto a given piece of hardware, which leads to lower costs and more efficient use of resources.

The ability to scale is built into a virtualized environment, and administration is simple, with a number of existing tools to administer a virtualized environment.

With virtualization, patching can sometimes be an issue; each OS sits on top of a hypervisor and IT may have to patch each VM separately in each piece of hardware.

It’s best to plan for a higher initial Capex, because the cost of installing a database needs to be accounted for. An enterprise can opt for an open-source solution like KVM, but this solution often requires additional set-up expenses.

A con is that the enterprise itself will be the single point of failure; if hardware fails, VMs go down. Fault-proof disaster recovery is a major concern and must be well architected.

There can be network traffic issues because multiple applications will be trying to use the same network card. The actual server and enterprise must be purpose built for the virtualized environment.

Virtualization is ideal for repurposing older hardware to some extent, because IT can consolidate many applications onto hardware that might have been written off. It is well suited to clustering; being able to cluster multiple VMs over multiple servers is a key benefit as far as disaster recovery.

It comes with a Capex, but over time, Opex is reduced because of consolidation (a lot of processes will be automated), so lower operational expenses and savings over time lead to a quicker return and lower total cost of ownership. However, licensing costs can get expensive.

An enterprise can achieve better data center resource utilization because of the smaller footprint, which saves on the costs of running servers. It also allows an enterprise to host multiple virtual databases on same physical machine while maintaining complete isolation of the operating system layer.

Selecting the Right Database

As you can see, selecting a deployment option is not a trivial matter. Therefore, how can a CIO or SI mitigate the risk of choosing one over another? Cost can’t be the only driver.

Just as mainframe eventually led to cloud, enterprises may find success if they can enable the simple path from legacy on-prem databases to a private cloud with APIs to the public cloud. This allows for the legacy architecture to connect to mobile, IoT and AI, potentially a launching pad for a hybrid cloud architecture with best of breed public cloud services: storage, applications etc.

Every enterprise has its own challenges, goals and needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation when selecting a database. Carefully examine your own infrastructure as well as ROI expectations, long-term business goals, sovereignty laws, IT capabilities and resource allocation to determine which of these databases is the right one for your enterprise – now and years down the line.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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