Managing data is a key to success.
Before listing the pros and cons of DBaaS, we need to explore a few decisions businesses have to make.
These include numerous quick decisions about data handling that can set them on a path that, if incorrect, are difficult and costly to correct. Those decisions are:
- What database type to use, SQL or NoSQL?
- What are the data storage and query needs? Transactional? Big Data?
- What database system to use? A few SQL choices might be Oracle, MySQL, MSSQL, and Sybase. A few No-SQL choices might be MongoDB or Cassandra.
- Do we have DBA (database administrator) talent or do we have to hire?
- What kind of server or resources are needed? What are my power, server, disk, processing, network, and IO requirements?
- How do I maintain, backup, administer and otherwise own the database framework?
- What is my cost of ownership?
First let’s explore which database type to use, SQL or NoSQL.
Traditional database types classified as SQL have a significant place in businesses and are a mainstay for business choices. However, as companies start to create applications that drive decisions based on significant database analysis of large, almost unfathomable amounts of data, they migrate to NoSQL solutions like MongoDB or Cassandra.
The architecture of NoSQL makes it a good choice for big data solutions while the built in protections of a transactional based system like Oracle make it a better choice for banking or similar solutions.
When it comes to picking a specific system, businesses tend to stick with what they know. In other words, if they already have Oracle, and Oracle talent, then when management asks those individuals which database system they should use on Project X, it should be no surprise that they pick Oracle.
Matching a specific database system to a set of business requirements is an arduous task that should always be looked at with a fresh perspective. It should not just be based on what talent is already employed or what systems a business is comfortable with.
Let’s face it, if a business picks correctly, all is good. If they pick incorrectly, they have wasted a lot of resources which equates to dollars. Enter DBaaS.
Where DBaaS excels is that it gives businesses the ability to test the waters a bit, to try before they invest heavily.
DBaaS acts as a stepping stone to total ownership, a cost effective solution to help you figure out your needs prior to investing heavily.
DBaaS has both pros and cons.
First, it is necessary to distinguish between “hosting database systems” and DBaaS.
There are many cloud based solutions that “host” a database system but provide no significant help in configuration, tuning, consulting, and providing the talent needed to actually use those systems.
True DBaaS provides both the system and the talent to help you utilize the database and determine how to store, query, and analyze your data. The value of DBaaS goes way beyond the hosting.
The pros of DBaaS include:
- No equipment or software licenses.
- Flexibility. Multiple choices are available to test drive your applications and pick the right platform for your business requirements.
- Significantly less staffing requirements. The DBaaS provider handles installation, configuration, and in many cases development.
- Offsite hosting, providing protection from local power failures or disasters. Many businesses design their system with power redundancy in mind, but, in reality, rarely meet those goals.
- SLA agreements that have redundancy, uptime, and backup protections. A DBaaS provider has intent focus on protecting your data.
Meantime the cons of DBaaS include:
- Limited access to underlying servers. This can present itself as a feeling of no control.
- Very little knowledge of how your data is protected from cyber security threats. This can be dangerous for sensitive data.
So how do you decide? Is there a transition from one to the other? Yes, almost always, but by following a few guidelines to start with, DBaaS can be used properly.