The information maintained in databases is the lifeblood of today’s enterprise. Yet organizations are living the nightmare of keeping up with their rapidly growing database farms, both in sheer size and volume. The old way of provisioning database servers is simply too expensive and slow. Procuring more gear, racking it up, checking operating system versions, procuring database software licenses, installing patches, and getting support contracts into place can be a frightful process. Once that’s done, getting the clusters set up, servers optimized and monitoring in place to deploy new instances or expand existing environments can be equally grim. Forget Halloween ghosts, it’s the relentless march of new, old and zombie data that can really scare the pants off of you.

Come as you Aren’t – the Promise of DBaaS

So, like many, you may consider turning tail and running to a Database as a Service (DBaaS) provider. But to ensure you meet your customer’s expectations, there are several attributes that the underlying data storage system absolutely must have in order to make sure you end up with a good treat not some expensive trick. Spoiler alert – Datera has the bogeymen in check.

DBaaS offerings provide the benefits of the “as a service” philosophy that enables users to configure, provision, operate, and consume database instances instantaneously. These services must be on-demand and provide pay as you grow usage models. They must also kill hardware upgrades and the cycle of maintenance co-dependence to the provider. So how hard can that be to deliver? Read on if you aren’t chicken….

Zombies and Werewolves and Vamps, oh my – DBaaS Customer Storage Requirements

Customers of DBaaS have likely been conditioned by their experiences with public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Oracle. As a result, there is a minimum set of functionality and self-service user capabilities they are conditioned to expect. And it turns out that the underlying storage system plays a huge role in whether that service can exceed let alone meet those expectations. The table below summarizes the customer expectations we see every day and explains the role of the storage system.

Database On-Demand: Legacy SAN and NAS storage systems were originally designed to be operated by humans who were tasked to create and administer volumes manually. While this may have been acceptable back then, the volume and velocity of database instances requires automation to keep pace and stay ahead of user requirements today, rendering the old approach tired and too labor intensive. To properly support the public cloud-like self-service model, Datera creates volumes instantly with secure multitenancy through a REST API.

Performance Tiers with QoS: Customers may want their databases provisioned on a tier with QoS, such as platinum, gold, silver, bronze, the list goes on… That puts pressure on the storage system to utilize multiple storage device types, so it can deliver volumes with different level of QoS like lowest latency, lowest cost, and all points in-between.

Per-Volume Services: Not all databases need the same services, so why not give the user what he/she wants. Each database needs to be able to utilize encryption, deduplication, compression, and differing levels of replication to provide the right level of availability as needed. And those decisions may change over time, so there needs to be a simple way to change the QoS by instructing the storage system without impacting the continuity of operation.

Cost Control: Customers must be able to request the database be moved to a faster or slower performance tier with no downtime. This helps them to contain their costs and offers a differentiating feature in the marketplace. Datera can migrate the volumes between tiers with no downtime.

Ingress and Egress: Users expect to be able to use the S3 object format for import/export with database service and for backups. Rather than having to implement that separately, Datera includes build-in S3 object support so all QoS and multitenant security is always enabled.

Zero Copy Clones: For development and test scenarios, zero copy clones, sometimes called “thin clones,” save time and space. This is another differentiating feature for your DBaas and offers a direct economic value to your customers.

Be careful out there: Keep the chocolate away from dogs and the werewolves. Candy corn, anyone?

Wicked Good DBaaS Storage Requirements

If you’re dressing up as a vampire, you’ll need a long flowing cape, fake fangs, and pale, dramatic makeup. If you are going to deliver a DBaaS that delights users, you’ll have to make sure your storage system isn’t just delivering playing along, but is playing the role of the lifetime to enable your service, with several additional key capabilities:

Performance Guarantees: You’ll need to scale-out heterogeneous servers and storage media to provide multiple performance tiers with QoS. Legacy scale-up storage systems must be avoided, as they do not scale out without frightening amounts of makeup and require disruptive and costly forklift upgrades periodically. The optimal storage solution must enable multiple types of storage classes and devices to enable a range of performance tiers cost-effectively.

Latest Technology: Over time as you expand and grow, you’ll need to add new capacity with no downtime. Many will also conclude that a 100% software solution for your storage, such as Datera, is the right solution in order to avoid hardware vendor lock-in, and ensure you can drop in the newest server and storage media technologies to extend the overall life of your environment.

High Availability: To operate in a modern software defined datacenter, you’ll need to ensure your storage system support Fault Domains, Metro Clusters, snapshots for backup/restore and DR, and tunable number of replicas. RAID and sharing data across storage nodes is simply too frightening a prospect. Datera supports all these attributes, plus it includes built-in L3 networking, if desired, to provide continuous availability.

Security: Security will need to be enforced at each layer so there is no weak link in the chain. The storage system must provide multitenancy, traffic isolation, and anomaly detection. Datera provides all of those capabilities, because our Fortune 500 and service provider customers that run DBaaS on us collaborated with us on our roadmap.

Automated Operations: Beyond the table stakes of collecting metrics, you may even investigate whether artificial intelligence can add value now, or if that’s all just hype. At Datera, our applied machine learning capabilities are here today, chewing on the metrics collected from inside the storage system to discover trends and take action automatically in order to avert problems automatically and continuously optimize the overall environment.

Standard iSCSI Protocol: You’ll likely conclude that your storage system must utilize iSCSI ensures compatibility with all clients, be they bare metal Linux, Windows, or VMs on popular hypervisors, and avoids vendor lock-in. Datera software-driven storage has your DBaaS requirements covered for the spookiest night of the year and all the others.

Surrender Dorothy – Run your DBaaS on Datera Powered Storage

There’s no way around it. DBaaS has a very compelling value proposition for organizations who value its economic model, rapid provisioning, instantaneous scalability, and ability to offload administration tasks onto dedicated professionals that work for their cloud service provider. But providers, be they internal IT organizations or service providers, would be wise to think through all the storage and data management requirements that will make their DBaaS meet the demands of a customer base that only continues to want better and better service all at a reasonable price. Ring the bell when you’re ready, and in the meantime, we “witch” you a happy Halloween.

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If you are ready to achieve high-performance with continuous availability on commodity hardware and reduce your storage infrastructure total-cost-of-ownership by as much as 70%, Contact Us to schedule a free consultation.