The Top Five DBaaS Providers for Open Source Databases

Paul Namuag

These are, in our opinion, the top five DBaaS providers on the market. Each provides support for various types of open source databases. It is inevitable that the cloud tech giants (e.g. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) are the big three in the cloud market, and for most are usually the first choice when deploying databases into the cloud. In this blog we will look at them and others that offer a fully-managed database-as-a-service for open source databases.

Why Should I Use a DBaaS?

In our previous blog we talked about the advantages of deploying your database using a DBaaS. Before we discuss the top DBaaS provider for open source databases, let’s look at some items that will serve as a guide for future providers consideration....

  • The cloud can eliminate costs
  • Service catalogues are designed for agility and speed. No need for time consuming database provisioning and scripting
  • Provides automatic setup for scale-up and scale-out when on demand.
  • Infrastructure security and data security is covered and offered
  • Eliminates time-consuming manual tasks for managing databases
  • Provides your database health, usage, utilization, and performance by just a quick glance
  • Everything can be asked on-demand as long as it's available as an offer. No need for long discussion within your company or worries regarding CapEx. Just focus on the cost or pricing model the service has to offer.

Generally speaking, everything is there (and the reason why this offering is a key to success for many) is because it just eliminates the task to deeply setup, analyze, and design from infrastructure to the technical part of the database overall design structure. These are very time consuming, energy draining, and also can be a blocker when optimization and performance is an issue. I could have used database management as comparable to the accounting department in a corporate world. It's full of complex and complicated things bound as one. It's least to gain love and attention by the developers (throwing a bunch of long and bad queries) because of the need to just focus on the business logic side. However, it's the most important factor why the business application can sustain and gain success. Data management is a pain but the underlying beauty behind it is the tools, the data you are using such as the service offering that the providers have to offer.

Top Five DBaaS Providers for Open Source Databases

Our picks here are based on the specific availability of open source databases as part of the offering that are fully managed and the kind of service level agreements that they have integrated in their service offerings. Each of the services offered by these providers are categorized into specific types of scenarios. For example, real-time applications such as caching or session stores, the most common of these are Redis, CouchDB, or MongoDB. For the mainstream relational databases, the list of PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB are very common for these types of databases. Then for data warehousing, Clickhouse, HBase, Kafka are the most common ones in these types of fields. 

Alibaba Cloud

The Alibaba Cloud Databases offers an amazing portfolio for the available open source databases that are covered under their managed services offering. Alibaba Cloud is not to be confused with Alibaba Group which is a Chinese-based company. Although Alibaba Cloud is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, the former is headquartered in Singapore. This concern comes from other companies especially the US-based for which the tech vendors inevitably face concerns about data and cloud security, but Alibaba hopes to defuse potential doubt through its international headquarters in Singapore.

With Alibaba Cloud, they offer one of the most extensive portfolios of cloud database solutions and can provide the necessary solutions to store, process, analyze and manage your data to support and add value to your business. Their database systems support all the mainstream open-source database solutions such as MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Redis. Of course, they also have commercial and enterprise based databases such as SQL Server and a cloud-hosted MariaDB TX.

Alibaba Cloud has 19 regional data centres globally, including China North, China South, China East, US West, US East, Europe, United Kingdom, Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.

IBM Cloud

The IBM Cloud offers a wide range of databases that are highly available and production ready. Though each database is delivered and consumed independently, their pricing and interaction models are consistent.

A number of interesting mainstream open source databases are available as part of their managed database service offering. These are MongoDB, Elasticsearch, etcd, PostgreSQL, Redis, and RabbitMQ. Commercial and enterprise databases for your choice includes DB2, EnterpriseDB.

An interesting product part of their managed database is the IBM Cloudant. A scalable JSON document database for web, mobile, IoT and serverless applications. It is built on open source Apache CouchDB, offering seamless sync for hybrid multi-cloud architectures. If you have an existing application using CouchDB as your database storage engine, this is a great option as you take your route migrating to a DBaaS infrastructure. This product is also a great add-on as part of their DBaaS especially for a distributed database that is optimized for handling heavy workloads that are typical of large, fast-growing web and mobile apps. Cloudant elastically scales throughput and storage independently.

All managed database services offered by IBM are backed with SLA as part of their IBM Cloud service. They have taken their expertise on a high-level especially in the hardware and software industry operating for too long of service. So reliability over the hardware conditioning, software provisioning, patching, and upgrades are nothing to concern while boasting their 99.99 percent SLA.

All IBM DBaaS offerings are natively integrated with IBM Cloud and easily integrated with Red Hat OpenShift. They provide enterprise grade security, flexibility, and scalability out of the box.

Aiven

Aiven was founded in 2016 and is a new player in the DBaaS and specializes in deploying open source databases offering as a managed database in the cloud. It amazed us as they have a long list of open source databases available as a fully managed service. These databases are Apache Kafka, Apache Cassandra, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Redis, InfluxDB, and Grafana. Their focus is ease of adoption, high fault resilience, customer's peace of mind and advanced features. The service is fully automated allowing databases to be created with a few clicks and later seamlessly upgraded from small single-node setups to larger highly-available clusters with no downtime. 

Aiven being a database-as-a-service provider boasting their best managed, open source data infrastructure services to cover all of the needs of complex internet applications. Aiven's philosophy and goal is to enable developers to focus on their core business and build great applications without worrying about software infrastructure through providing integrated solutions that will allow teams to build what they couldn't imagine before. Aiven has offices in Helsinki, Boston, Berlin and Sydney.

Aiven is available in multiple clouds across multiple regions, including all Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud regions as well as various regional clouds. We also support no-downtime migrations between different cloud providers. Aiven can be used through our web console, command-line client and open REST API.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is the leader when it comes to providing a full cloud services portfolio. They pioneered a lot of services that the cloud companies are also adopting as the type of services that are delivered to the consumers. It's inevitable that, when considering to deploy your open source database, you might have to do some research and take a look at what are the services you can take leverage with AWS.

Database services that offers a fully-managed service by AWS which are compatible or specialize for your current database running on-prem are,

  • Amazon Aurora (compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL)
  • Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
  • Amazon RDS for MySQL
  • Amazon RDS for MariaDB
  • Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility)
  • Amazon Elasticache (available for Memcached and Redis)
  • Amazon Keyspaces (for Apache Cassandra)

For commercial and enterprise type databases, Oracle and SQL Server are also offered. They do also have a bunch of services tailored for analytics such as RedShift, or for time-series databases with Timestream, or for financial or cryptography purposes with QLDB, and more.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

GCP is just getting better speaking of comparison against AWS. Google is purely known for a giant-tech company that is always very supportive with open source technologies. So it's not inevitable that consumers of their services will always search for a DBaaS compatibility with their current technology in-house running on-prem and planning to migrate to a more cost-efficient DBaaS infrastructure. 

As of this writing, Google offers the following open-source databases:

  • Cloud Memorystore for Redis
  • App Engine for MemcacheD
  • Cloud SQL for MySQL
  • Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL
  • Cloud Bigtable (HBase API support)

They do also offer commercial and enterprise databases same as with AWS providing Oracle and SQL Server. 

Key advantages that consumers are reaching out to Google are primarily its reliable name in the industry of the technology and also in the cloud infrastructure is very sophisticated and documentation is well presented and clear. People are concerned about privacy and security of their data when stored outside premises while achieving data autonomy at the same time. GCP manages this with sophisticated features having secure access and connectivity, built-in HA, scalable, automatic storage increases (scales your Cloud SQL when storage capacity reaches limit), and high performance. It also has easy integration with its GCP's in-house services such as the Google Compute Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, or opening up possibilities by using BIgQuery to directly query your Cloud SQL databases. For Data Recovery, automatic backups and point-in-time recovery are present as a feature. If there's a need for automation, well the standard APIs are available. You can build and deploy for the cloud faster ensuring application compatibility. Then just use standard connection drivers and built-in migration tools to get started quickly.

Moreover, many DBaaS companies are partnering with Google Cloud Platform and hosting their own cloud for a managed database service while using GCP as the cloud infrastructure. 

Other DBaaS Players Worth a Mention

You may also wonder why there's no Microsoft Azure, which is one of the big 3 tech giants in the cloud market. Without a doubt, Microsoft Azure is also a leading cloud provider especially for DBaaS. Although our topic here drives more over the open source databases. Yet they do offer Azure Database for PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB. They do offer Azure Cosmos DB which supports open source APIs for MongoDB and Cassandra. Of course, it's inevitable that we have to include the list. But in comparison to AWS and GCP, Azure is yet to show off their open source support especially when it comes to data-warehousing or handling big data. They are more tailored and/or might be biased to their SQL Server which is in fact their primary database owned by Microsoft.

Huawei Cloud is also on the rise and also a great competitor against the Alibaba Cloud within the Asia Pacific region. Huawei Cloud also has DBaaS products that are ready for production. Probably, the most challenging market for Huawei is the scrutiny behind security and privacy. Most of their regions and zones are located in the Chinese region but they do have also in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. For DBaaS in the open source world, they do offer RDS for MySQL and PostgreSQL. While also having a document database service with MongoDB compatibility. For distributed, non-relational database service, they do also offer GaussDB which is compatible with mainstream NoSQL APIs such as Cassandra and MongoDB.

Another one that I found that is worth mentioning is XenonStack. They originate from India and what makes it interesting is that they offer various types of open source databases which are part of their managed services. Although we might haven't heard much of them or at least tried any of their services. They do host their instances relying on AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure. According to their web site, they're boasting about features integrated for their Managed Cloud Services with full backup and daily snapshots. With operating system patches, updates, hardinging, configuration and tuning. They also have monitoring and response with their monitoring software, and have an advanced enterprise analytics dashboard. 

DBaaS are sprouting since AWS, GCP, and Azure can be the primary providers for providing the cloud infrastructure and companies are partnering with these cloud providers in order to provide the best managed database services that these top providers might not be able to offer. For example, there's MongoDB Atlas, ElephantSQL, and MariaDB SkySQL.

Conclusion

Privacy, security, and data autonomy are some of the most important and favored concerns that consumers of the DBaaS are considering before moving from on-prem to the cloud. DBaaS does in fact eliminate the overall hassle for devops and DBA work. Being stuck on a specific vendor (vendor lock-in), can be damaging when a company realizes that it's time to get back on-prem or migrating to a different cloud provider. Overall, it depends on what type of service that a provider suits your needs.

ClusterControl
The only management system you’ll ever need to take control of your open source database infrastructure.