Why is it important to manage a relational database system in the cloud?

Q:

Why is it important to manage a relational database system in the cloud?

A:

Cloud database systems help to give businesses a more versatile way to handle relational database functionality. It's convenient to be able to rely on a vendor's offsite hardware for relational database – but this in turn takes its own kind of management and administrative responsibility.

It's important to manage a relational database system in the cloud because the data that is supporting database transactions is coming from diverse places. Whether that cloud provider is a single tenant or multitenant provider, managing relational database operations in the cloud is going to be different than it is for on-premise systems. An on-premise system is an open box – it’s easily observed by those on the premises and often supported by in-house efforts. By contrast, database operations supported in the cloud can be inscrutable and enigmatic to stakeholders.

One of the fundamental reasons that companies put effort into cloud relational database management is so that they can avoid “resources crunch.” In some cases, companies can end up with underperforming relational database systems – cloud systems create bottlenecks, data in transit is not efficiently handled, and the whole architecture gets bogged down, having a negative effect on business processes.

In other cases, the company overspends on resources and a lot of the extra CPU and memory sits dormant as the company continues to pay out for unused assets.

Good cloud relational database management means that in-house people will be assisted by a smart system that understands the “desired state” for a relational database system, and works to provide easy scalability, elasticity and high availability for systems. That means handling dynamic demand and peak time pressure. It means being able to securely grow the company as customer additions and other changes balloon the relational database to enormous volumes. It means having a performance system that is always capable and ready to respond to demand.

Those who are managing a relational database system in the cloud will often break down license and compute costs, and the costs of handling relational database with vendors, to understand true costs and handle them individually. They'll also inspect the use of resources like CPU and memory to make sure that everything they're investing in is being used efficiently. Having a level of automation in cloud relational database management helps companies to feel more confident about return on investment for what they have put into a set of business processes.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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