What Is a Cloud Database
A cloud database is the same as an on-premises database in terms of its structure and design. But it’s located remotely, in a private, public, or hybrid cloud.
Read on to find out how a cloud database works, the different types of cloud databases, and some of the best reasons to use them.
What is a Cloud Database – Explained
Similar to an on-premises database, a cloud database can be structured or unstructured. Unlike a local database, however, it’s not connected through a local area network.
Rather, it’s hosted on remote servers from where it can be accessed over the internet. Cloud databases became popular in the mid-2000 with the rise of Amazon cloud services and other cloud computing providers.
Apps that need to access the database through backend services won’t spot any differences between an on-premises and a cloud database. The database will behave in the same way.
The only possible difference is in the access time. Because the cloud database is located remotely, it may have a slightly slower response time compared to a locally hosted database. However, cloud computing providers are good at providing fast infrastructures and, with most apps, the difference is not noticeable.
Cloud databases can be relational and written in SQL (structured query language) to hold data in a consistent format, like banking transactions. Well-known examples include MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.
Or they can be nonrelational, storing content in a single document regardless of its structure. Nonrelational databases are used for media content, including social media.
What is a Cloud Database – Types
Cloud databases are provided in two different ways—through a virtual machine or a subscription service.
When run on a virtual machine, a cloud database operates within the organization’s IT infrastructure and is managed by the IT team. While requiring management work, this type of deployment gives an organization almost full control over it.
With a subscription service, also known as a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS), the database runs on the cloud provider’s infrastructure. Depending on the service level agreed on, the provider can manage both the infrastructure and the database or only the infrastructure.
For organizations without an IT staff or sufficient IT expertise, managed cloud databases are a cost-effective and hassle-free solution that enables them to focus on their projects rather than spend valuable resources on the technical aspects of managing a database.
What is a Cloud Database – Key Benefits
Cloud databases can be attractive to organizations of all sizes. Here are the key reasons why many organizations around the world use them.
- Cost-effective – In most cases, buying a cloud database is more affordable than creating the physical infrastructure a local database requires and managing it. With a cloud database, organizations avoid costs associated with hardware, staff, physical space, and operation. For small businesses especially, the cost difference can be significant.
- Faster deployment – Even when an organization has the budget to create a local database, deploying it can take weeks or longer. Deploying a cloud database is a far quicker process.
- Greater scalability – Many cloud database providers can increase database resources as needed. For growing businesses, this means smoother database upgrades, without the technical risks, downtime, and other challenges of upgrading a local data center.
- No need for maintenance – Organizations that opt for Database-as-a-Service or managed cloud databases pass on the responsibility of managing the hardware and software to the service provider. This can mean more time, fewer headaches, and more creative freedom.
- Easy migration – Most cloud database providers make migrating a legacy database to the cloud a straightforward and pain-free process. The result can be better performance, lower costs, and other benefits.
What is a Cloud Database – Summary
Cloud databases come with important benefits that make them well worth considering. While they can also raise security concerns and potential latency issues in some cases, the benefits they bring are compelling for many businesses.
Today, many organizations across industries use cloud databases as the default option for their database needs.
Whether you need a new database or have to upgrade an old one, cloud databases can be the way forward.