What is a Multi-Cloud Database?

Paul Namuag

During the recent 24-hour Percona Live, multi-cloud was regularly one of the key topics. This is just another key indicator of the trend of many organizations who are switching their architectures or expanding their businesses to include multi-cloud database deployments. 

Multi-cloud is considered by many as the new normal, but it has been growing largely over the last two years and the adoption of this approach is showing significant growth. 

There are, however, certain risks and concerns which explain why some organizations have not switched their architecture or are not interested in capitalizing their infrastructure.  These are often due to concerns about security and data autonomy.

What is Multi-Cloud?

Multi-cloud is a strategy in utilizing the cloud infrastructure of two or more cloud vendors (public or private) instead of relying on a single vendor. This is not limited to what the public clouds (such as what Amazon, Google, and Microsoft) are offering. It can also mean using a private cloud, which has a limited offering to select users or is offered over a private internal network for its computing services, or is offered with the additional control and customization available from dedicated resources over a computing infrastructure hosted on-premises. Being on a multi-cloud helps organizations avoid vendor lock-in and the ability to have a cloud-agnostic platform approach.

A common example of a multi-cloud for this scenario is an enterprise application that requires data backup and restore strategy to be stored in multiple locations. Another example being if customers demand that your application has to support a particular service on a different vendor once a restore process is done. 

Our products ClusterControl and Backup Ninja are two of the few applications that are designed for the multi-cloud approach, not only for the infrastructure but also for multi-cloud database deployments.

Multi-cloud should not be confused with hybrid cloud. The latter refers to the presence of one or multiple cloud deployments associated with deployments running on-prem or some form of integration or orchestration between them, such as Kubernetes, for example.

What is a Multi-Cloud Database?

While a multi-cloud focuses on cloud vendors (either privately or publicly - for which the latter is the common place to host the database), a multi-cloud database specifies the term as it relates specifically to database operations. 

It's a strategy to utilize multiple deployments of databases dispersed over different cloud vendors, whereas this service offering for databases is not limited to storing or processing data, but also involves data management such as backup and restore mechanisms, data recovery, data migration, etc. with added database enhancements and efficiency features such as query optimization or performance enhancements.

According to Percona's recent survey report, organizations globally reveal that their preference is to have multiple databases placed in multiple locations across multiple platforms. Many of these platforms offer SaaS and cloud solutions to startups as well as established enterprises. With the emergence of DBaaS sprouting globally from various companies that offer this service can entice companies to adopt and capitalize on this trend.

Do You Need a Multi-cloud Database?

Multi-Cloud databases are popular, largely due to the following reasons...

  • It’s cost-effective
  • It’s more efficient
  • Higher performance
  • Less skills required and less focus for database management and performance efficiency workloads
  • Better automation options
  • Features high-availability & scalability to avoid unwanted outages
  • Smarter tool options
  • Better security and faster phase enhancements
  • Maximum protection for your mission critical systems
  • Fully-managed services available (means less worry, less work and focus on the business application logic)

These are just some of the few key aspects why there is a sudden adoption of users for this technology. According to Flexera (acquired by Rightscale), among the top initiatives for capitalizing over the cloud is due to cost savings, as shown in the graph below...

Top Cloud Initiatives for 2020 - Flexera

Still, it shows that AWS emerges as the choice to run their infrastructure over the cloud with Azure and Google Cloud following among the top list of public cloud adoption for enterprises.

Public Cloud Adoption for Enterprises - Flexera

With the boom in DBaaS, other organizations are offering managed services for databases; especially the open-source databases. 

  • MariaDB just recently delivered their SkySQL MariaDB Cloud Database
  • MongoDB Atlas is a cloud-hosted MongoDB service on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud in just a few clicks. 
  • For PostgreSQL enthusiasts, there's ElephantSQL to start with. 
  • Another provider which offers various database deployment services for your data infrastructure is Aiven. Aiven is doing a great job offering various database services (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Kafka, InfluxDB, etc.) with very easy to deploy your new database infrastructure by interacting over the UI. 

Each of these approaches, at their core, are fundamentally the same. They remove the hassle of creating automation for CI/CD deployments allowing you to have your database infrastructure completely set up ready for production use in just a few minutes. It's very cost effective, as it does not need to capitalize on hardware infrastructure.

Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Databases

Sounds enticing right? While multi-cloud databases might sound interesting, there are a number of concerns with the technology. Security and data autonomy is still a concern, especially for FinTech or applications indulging EHR or EMR systems.

Long term costs of running a multi-cloud database has yet to be fully studied. Wild predictions are not welcome, as putting such large investments could impact the business. 

Exploring the various offerings from different vendors is a great idea, but you also have to consider things such as things being cloud-agnostic and avoiding vendor lock-in should you decide to explore other possibilities in the future. 

Technology is always growing and when major changes occur, it's often hard to switch onto different platforms as it costs money and resources.

Multi-Cloud: The Right Tools are the Path to Success

Regardless of the advantages and benefits of multi-cloud approaches, there will be complexity and finding the right tool for your specific needs is paramount. 

You need to choose the desired application and software that offers a seamless approach when deploying your multi-cloud databases, one that offers the capacity to oversee and observe your database performance and efficiency. 

Databases are very flexible and customizable in accordance to your desired performance tuning and it is these features that will ultimately enrich your application mechanism and improve the delivery to your end users.

ClusterControl is a Multi-Cloud Database Deployment Platform

If you decide to leverage multi-cloud deployments of your database, then you must leverage smart tools with a wide coverage of multi-cloud platforms. ClusterControl is one of these tools. ClusterControl offers support for the deployment of your databases to AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure, in any combination.

Multi-Cloud databases in ClusterControl are quite straightforward. All you need to do is set up your cloud providers credentials just like below...

Multi-Cloud Database Deployments with ClusterControl

Then select the provider and provide the credentials to connect via API, for example:

Multi-Cloud Database Deployments with ClusterControl
Multi-Cloud Database Deployments with ClusterControl

Then, ClusterControl has a “Deploy in the Cloud” option.

Multi-Cloud Database Deployments with ClusterControl

Then select the desired database vendor on which you would like to deploy as seen below:

Multi-Cloud Database Deployments with ClusterControl

ClusterControl also offers a way to manually setup your desired multi-cloud infrastructure. This blog post, Deploying Secure Multicloud MySQL Replication on AWS and GCP with VPN, can show you how.

Conclusion

Multi-cloud database is now part of the new normal. Many enterprises and large organizations have revealed their interest in adopting and implementing a multi-cloud and deploying databases, not only in one provider, but onto different providers. 

Avoiding vendor lock-in and increasing cost efficiency remain a top priority for this type of deployment, yet, a key takeaway for leveraging multi-cloud deployment of your databases relies on the kind of tools you use and how efficient they are in helping you manage your database once it’s deployed.

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