A Comprehensive Guide To The Cloud Native Database [2024]

Databases are crucial for storing and managing important information. Moreover, they are the backbone of many operations, such as financial transactions. However, the way we store data is evolving. Cloud computing offers a new approach, and cloud-native databases are changing how businesses manage information in the digital age. 

This guide thoroughly explores these powerful tools. Let’s unpack their benefits, potential drawbacks, and implementation strategies together.

Understanding Cloud-Native Databases

A cloud native database (DB) is a service designed specifically for deployment and management within cloud environments. 

There are several key characteristics of a cloud native database:

  • Cloud-Based Delivery: Built, deployed, and delivered entirely through cloud platforms, organisations simplify management and operations.
  • Scalability and Reliability: These databases are designed to scale up or down easily to meet changing data storage demands. They also offer high levels of reliability, ensuring consistent uptime and data availability.
  • Cloud-Native Technologies: Cloud-native databases often leverage technologies like Kubernetes, a container orchestration platform. Kubernetes allows for flexible and scalable deployment of the database.

Cloud-native databases offer features like on-demand scaling and built-in redundancy. This factor simplifies management and allows businesses to focus on strategic initiatives. ​​

Now, let’s explore the key differences between traditional and cloud-native databases to understand the advantages of the latter.

Traditional vs Cloud Databases

The distinction between the cloud database and traditional database has become a key consideration for businesses. But what exactly sets these two storage solutions apart?

The key difference lies in where the databases are housed. Traditional databases reside on physical servers within an organisation’s data centres. While being powerful, they present challenges. For example, scaling up storage or processing power can be cumbersome. Plus, security breaches pose a greater threat due to the on-premise nature of the data. Additionally, managing these physical servers also diverts valuable IT resources from core business activities.

Cloud databases, on the other hand, offer a more dynamic approach. Imagine renting a secure, scalable storage locker in the cloud. Providers like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure handle the infrastructure, freeing organisations from hardware headaches. Here’s where cloud databases outshine their traditional counterparts:

  • Scalability on Demand: Cloud databases adapt to fluctuating data volumes. Need more storage for that surge in customer activity? No problem – scale up with ease.
  • Resilient by Design: Cloud providers boast robust infrastructure. They ensure high data availability with redundant systems. If a hiccup occurs, data can be swiftly replicated and restored, minimising downtime.
  • Cost-Effective Choice: The “pay-as-you-go” cloud computing model translates to significant cost savings. Organisations pay only for what they use, avoiding the upkeep of unused hardware.

Cloud databases offer a clear advantage over traditional options. However, before a complete switch, it is important to consider any potential limitations of cloud-native databases:

  • Complexity: Cloud-native environments, especially those involving containers and Kubernetes, introduce complexities. Managing databases within them adds another layer of difficulty.

The initial setup might seem straightforward, but the real challenge lies in ongoing management. Automating application provisioning requires a skilled team with expertise in Kubernetes and related tools. 

Finding personnel with this specialised knowledge is a challenge. Businesses may find themselves needing to invest in costly training. Also, companies might require partnerships with IT recruitment agencies to source this talent. 

  • Security: Cloud-native database security adheres to a shared responsibility model. Here, cloud providers offer a secure infrastructure. Meanwhile, organisations remain accountable for safeguarding their data. They need to monitor unauthorised access, cyber threats, and data breaches continuously. This vigilance requires specialised knowledge of cloud security best practices.
  • Compliance: A cloud-native database is a powerful tool. But, making sure data follows regulations and localisation rules is complex. Strict rules regarding data storage and access vary by industry and geographic location. Businesses must navigate legal complexities to avoid penalties or disruptions.

Cloud storage offers flexible, on-demand data storage with lower costs compared to traditional on-site servers. However, managing cloud databases can be trickier and requires more security awareness. That said, let’s explore strategies for using cloud databases next.

Implementation Strategies

Migrating to a cloud-native database offers exciting possibilities. However, careful planning and execution are crucial for a smooth transition. This section outlines key strategies to ensure a successful implementation:

1. Pre-Migration Planning

  • Needs Assessment: Before starting the migration journey, thoroughly assess your current data storage requirements. First, analyse your data volume and growth projections. You can then identify any compliance regulations.
  • Cloud Provider Selection: Evaluate cloud providers based on factors like pricing models, security measures, and integration capabilities with your existing infrastructure.
  • Data Migration Strategy: Develop a plan for transitioning your existing data to the cloud-native database. Consider phased migrations, using tools for bulk data transfer, or leveraging continuous data replication mechanisms to minimise downtime. Explore options for data cleansing and transformation tools if needed.

2. Implementation and Deployment

  • Provisioning and Configuration: Work with your chosen cloud provider to set up the cloud-native database instance and configure security settings
  • Data Migration Execution: Transfer your existing data to the cloud-native database. Depending on your chosen approach, you might need bulk loading tools or continuous replication mechanisms.
  • Integration with Applications: Modify your applications to connect with the new cloud-native database. These changes could involve updating connection strings, API calls, and any relevant data access logic within your codebase.

3. Post-Migration Optimisation

  • Performance Monitoring: Once migrated, closely monitor the performance of your cloud-native database. Tools offered by your cloud provider can help track key metrics like query response times and resource utilisation.
  • Security Best Practices: Implement security measures to protect your data in the cloud. For example, reinforce access controls, use strong encryption (at rest and in transit), and regularly monitor for potential security threats.
  • Ongoing Maintenance and Support: Stick to a consistent update schedule for the cloud-native database software. This way, you can benefit from bug fixes and performance enhancements offered by the vendor. Use the support resources for any technical assistance needed.

4. Additional Considerations

  • Team Training: Moving to a cloud-native database may require your IT team to get new skills and knowledge. Invest in training your team with the chosen platform and best practices for cloud-based data management.
  • Plan for Disaster Recovery: Develop a full plan to keep the business running in case of disruptions. Cloud providers offer features that keep your data safe and minimise downtime. These features include automated backups, global data redundancy, and swift backup system transitions during outages. 
  • Cost Optimisation: Cloud-native databases allow you to manage expenses by scaling resources up or down based on your real-time requirements. Monitor resource usage and explore cost-saving strategies offered by your provider.

Migrating to a cloud-native database requires a roadmap. This section charted a course for a smooth transition. However, the real question is: what problems do cloud-native databases solve best? Let’s go over some instances where cloud-native databases shine.

List of Use Cases

Cloud-native databases aren’t just theoretical concepts. Here are some scenarios that reflect the power of cloud-native database technologies:

  • Modern App Development: Cloud-native database is a perfect fit for modern applications built with microservices architecture. This approach breaks down large apps into smaller, independent pieces. Cloud technologies can easily manage the data needs of each service within these applications.
  • Real-time Analytics and Big Data: Today’s businesses increasingly rely on real-time data insights. Cloud-native databases can handle the high volume of data generated by real-time applications. Their ability to scale on-demand ensures smooth operation even during spikes in data flow.
  • Globally Distributed Applications: Many businesses operate across multiple geographical locations. Due to their distributed nature, cloud-native databases can be easily deployed across different regions. This flexibility ensures compliance with data residency rules and low latency for users globally.
  • Serverless Applications: Serverless computing is gaining traction due to its cost-effectiveness and scalability. Cloud-native database integrates with serverless architectures, letting developers focus on application logic, not infrastructure.
  • IoT and Connected Devices: The Internet of Things (IoT) generates massive sensor data. With its ability to handle high concurrency, Cloud DB is ideal for storing and processing data.
  • Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): ML and AI require vast datasets for training and analysis. Cloud native databases provide a scalable platform to manage these massive data volumes.

Cloud native database is more than just a fancy term. It is a useful tool that helps businesses of all kinds. This type of database can handle big data, work with modern apps, and adjust as your needs change.

Conclusion

Cloud native database offers a compelling solution for businesses seeking agility and scalability in data storage. By leveraging the expertise of cloud providers, organisations can free up IT resources and focus on core business activities. With a careful approach, cloud database technologies can be a powerful tool for driving digital transformation.

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Vitalii Makhov, CEO at DOIT Staffing, an IT Staff Augmentation company. The DOIT Staffing team is passionate about building bold systems and solving business challenges for startups, product companies, and digital agencies.

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