Should you run your database on-premises or in the cloud?

Cloud platforms have become a standard IT infrastructure choice for many organizations, and cloud database deployments are growing rapidly as a result. But one of the biggest questions that many IT stores continue to ask is whether they should choose an on-premises, IaaS, or database-as-a-service (DBaaS) platform for their database-driven applications. data.

Each architecture offers benefits to your organization and has potential drawbacks that include cost, control, and configuration considerations. Choosing to deploy an on-premises database or a cloud database can be a tough decision. Here is an overview of your options.

On-premises databases

Most IT and data management teams have extensive experience with on-premises systems. Organizations have built data centers and server rooms that offer all environmental protections, including temperature and humidity control; fire suppression; Security; and redundant connectivity and power to ensure IT systems are safe, secure and highly available.

One thing that comes to mind in the cloud vs. local database debate, as it’s also phrased, is the cost of hardware and software. With an on-premises database, organizations must purchase, install, and maintain all hardware components. Additionally, organizations must purchase the operating system, database software, and a wide range of supporting software tools to secure, administer, and monitor databases and the applications that run on them.

Infrastructure as a Service

An IaaS database environment is a cloud architecture similar to running an on-premises database. With IaaS, the provider provides the compute and storage infrastructure and may offer some level of system maintenance activities. Customers have direct access to the platform, which includes both compute and storage components. Think of it as a server in the cloud.

Organizations using IaaS do not have to create the server support environment to protect their systems. The cloud provider provides all the environmental, security, and redundancy features needed to prevent or reduce the effect of data breaches, unplanned downtime, and other unfortunate events.

IaaS customers retain ownership of the deployment and management of their software stack, including the operating system and database. They install the database management system software of their choice on the IaaS platform and then are responsible for administering the software.

Database as a service

DBaaS providers offer all the benefits of the environmental infrastructure of their IaaS counterparts, but they increase their level of control and responsibility by assuming ownership of the operating system and database software, in addition to the infrastructure. support.

The vendors, which include major cloud platform vendors and other database manufacturers that run their software on these platforms, also provide tools to help customers monitor their DBaaS environment. Although database administrators (DBAs) can configure the system to meet application workload requirements and are responsible for coordinating with the DBaaS provider on tasks such as database patches and backups, they perform little or no back-end software administration.

Comparison of on-premises, IaaS and DBaaS

On-premises, IaaS, and DBaaS approaches all have strengths and weaknesses inherent in their architectures. It is also important to note that there can be many variations in the offerings of IaaS and DBaaS providers. Nevertheless, the table below provides a good basis for comparing the three alternatives.

A detailed overview of key differences between on-premises and cloud database architectures.

No database is an island

A key evaluation point when choosing between an on-premises database and a cloud database is identifying how much data you will transfer back and forth to that architecture. Most operational databases take streams from various sources, interact with other databases and systems as part of business processes, and produce data output that is sent to other applications. Getting information in and out of a cloud system can be difficult, especially if there are large volumes of data, multiple database platforms, and tight time constraints.

As a result, many IT stores have found that cloud requires a comprehensive strategy. When application software and the data it accesses are distributed between cloud and on-premises platforms in a hybrid cloud database environment, data access delays can negatively affect performance. This is a significant issue for applications that require extremely fast response times, although there may be other reasons to opt for a hybrid cloud approach, for example, to meet the requirements of data governance by keeping certain data on-site.

Advantages of the on-premises database

On-premises architectures are ideal for organizations that prefer full ownership and control over the security, availability, recoverability, and performance of their database systems.

Additionally, organizations running on-premises systems can use a wide range of database administration, performance monitoring, and support tools to improve efficiency and streamline operations. On the other hand, users often find it difficult to integrate third-party administration tools with a DBaaS platform due to vendor changes to their systems.

Organizations that must comply with internal data standards and industry or government regulations may prefer – or require – on-premises database setup due to the ease of visibility into these systems. On-premises platforms make it easier for database administrators, compliance officers, and other involved personnel to provide evidence of compliance to auditors.

IaaS Benefits

Similarly, IaaS allows customers to maintain tight administrative control over their database environment. Additionally, organizations can more easily use their preferred internal third-party products on IaaS systems. IaaS architectures also provide organizations with a higher level of visibility into their systems than DBaaS platforms.

Advantages of DBaaS

DBaaS offerings make it easier for customers to configure complex database architectures that include advanced high availability and disaster recovery features. Since cloud providers take responsibility for the entire DBaaS system, organizations also benefit from reduced support costs. In addition, competition in the DBaaS market is fierce. As a result, DBaaS users can take advantage of a constant stream of new features and functionality from traditional SQL database vendors, NoSQL software systems, and other types of databases to meet their application needs.

On-premises database costs versus cloud databases

The costs required to support database systems in an on-premises data center will be significantly higher than renting an IaaS or DBaaS environment from a cloud provider. But comparing the costs between cloud and local on-premises databases isn’t as straightforward for organizations that already have huge investments in their existing data centers.

One of the first selling points of the cloud was cost reduction. However, as organizations gained experience with cloud systems, they quickly discovered that using the cloud did not always yield cost savings compared to on-premises platforms. There are many cases where pay-as-you-go cloud fees have eclipsed on-premises costs over an application’s lifecycle.

This means that it is essential to evaluate the initial and ongoing costs of IaaS and DBaaS systems. You don’t buy cloud environments, you rent them, and rental charges are typically based on resource usage, which can vary significantly over time and as business needs change. Be sure to do your due diligence so your organization isn’t surprised – or shocked – by the charges it incurs on cloud database systems.

Maria H. Underwood