An Executive's Guide to Database Management ROI

This guide discusses the options available to IT leaders when bringing in open source databases into their environments as well as general information on the open source database market. Also included in this whitepaper are an analysis of the costs of both doing and not doing select actions which are essential to managing open source databases.

Table of contents

  • 1. Executive Summary
    • 1.1. The Value of ClusterControl
    • 1.2. Introduction to Severalnines & ClusterControl
  • 2. Why Open Source
    • 2.1. The Value of Community Innovation
    • 2.2. Understanding the Open Source Database World
    • 2.3. Understanding the Needs of Open Source Databases
    • 2.4. The Downsides of Open Source
  • 3. Understanding the Costs
    • 3.1. Understanding the Cost of Free
    • 3.2. Understanding the Cost of Downtime
    • 3.3. The Cost of New Knowledge
    • 3.4. Managing Open Source Databases - A Comparison
    • 3.5. Database Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  • 4. Where ClusterControl Fits
    • 4.1. How Many Tools to do What ClusterControl Does   

1. Executive Summary

1.1. The Value of ClusterControl

In this whitepaper we will demonstrate to you how you can deploy and manage your open source databases in multiple different ways… either with high levels of manual management expertise or third party support to bring the needed level of expertise into your organization.

ClusterControl, an all-inclusive database management system, allows you to achieve the same end result of both scenarios without the costly internal or external labor costs all while reducing downtime. How does it do this?

Automation of Daily Tasks - Basic daily tasks are easily performed but are time consuming. Management tasks like backups and restore verification, upgrades, and failover/recovery are also very manual. Typically automation is introduced into the organization with the person who manages the databases writing scripts (or downloading them from the internet) and using them to deploy and manage the infrastructure. It is often hard to know to what extent these manual scripts are reliable, as good scripts take time to write and require a lot of testing - especially if you are going to use them on your production databases. At Severalnines, we are experts at databases. ClusterControl has these daily tasks automated, using proven methodologies and expertise, with a point-and-click or command line interface.

Automation of Complex Tasks - It takes a lot of work to operate a database in production, especially when it comes to high availability setups with multiple servers and data centers. ClusterControl automates the deployment, monitoring, management and scaling of these distributed systems, and makes configuration easy with multiple-choice options through a point-and-click interface.

Deployment Using Proven Methodologies - The management features found in ClusterControl follow best practices that our team of database experts have learnt over many years working in the database industry. They are thoroughly tested and used in production by thousands of companies.

Data Integrity - It is not hard to deploy a high availability database, but is it production ready? Especially when it comes to replication or clustering, where data is distributed across multiple servers, it is important to manage the system as a whole and understand if and when the data is getting out of sync. Server failures or breakdown in replication can compromise your data. For recovery purposes, it is also important that data is continuously backed up and the backups are regularly verified.

Reducing or Removing Downtime - ClusterControl’s unique combination of monitoring and alerts coupled with automated failover and scaling functionality make it highly unlikely for your database to go down. In addition, by using its proven methods for deployment and configuration you will experience less errors in production.

Reduction in Staffing Levels & Skill-set Requirements - With the automation found in ClusterControl you don’t have to have a specialized database administrator to monitor query behaviour, manually deploy nodes or clusters, manage configurations, detect anomalies in performance, repair nodes or clusters, make backups or restore them or load balance your queries. ClusterControl does all that f through either a GUI or CLI that can be easily operated by a SysAdmin. In addition, by automating a large part of the maintenance, we save you (over)time.

Enterprise-Grade at a Fraction of the Cost - While the majority of this document compares using ClusterControl to using other open-source databases with support or cobbled together tools, the reality is that ClusterControl is a very complete tool with nothing else like it on the market. We are on par with other enterprise software systems from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft, but at a greatly reduced cost.

Severalnines increased our streaming speed by 76% and this has greatly improved the delivery of content to our customers. The implementation took only two months to complete and saved us 12% in costs.

Thom Holliday, Marketing Maanger at StreamAMG

A Patchwork of Tools & Scripts

Most likely today your database infrastructure looks like a patchwork of tools with some things managed through scripts, others through various tools. Often times a tool is introduced to solve problem “x” but without considering problem “y.” It is also not straightforward to integrate different tools as very often, they have not been designed to work with each other. Since every tool has its own way of doing something, there is a training aspect for the team or organization that will rely on it for collaboration. In addition it is often the case that a tool that works for a developer on a smaller development environment might no longer work as part of a larger production infrastructure.

When introducing new tools, it is important that they can be integrated with existing ones that are already in use by the ops team. Such is the nature of infrastructure nowadays that it consists of many different components, and it would be impossible to find one tool to manage everything. Databases, as the source of truth for applications, are specialized components with their own management requirements. ClusterControl handles the entire deploy-monitor-manage-scale lifecycle of the database, but it can be also integrated with other management software.

If your organization is using a monitoring tool like Nagios, ClusterControl can integrate with it so that all alerting is channeled via Nagios. If Puppet is used for configuration management and deployments, the ClusterControl CLI can be used to manage what is already deployed. If the DevOps team has a particular chatbot used to alert when something goes wrong, that’s fine… ClusterControl integrates with Slack, VictorOps, Telegram and others.

With Severalnines’ help we’ve been able to deploy a centralised system across Europe... it is the database management life-saver for a fast-paced business like ours.

Stefan Rehlegger, System Architect at Eurofunk

Driving Digital Transformation on a Budget

The rise of new technologies and different IT approaches (like containers, cloud deployments, automation and DevOps) all have an impact on databases and how they are managed. The database, however, is usually the last thing you touch due to the high risk of affecting data integrity.

While your data is valuable and the stakes are high, you may end up with a database infrastructure that may be badly out of date. An antiquated infrastructure leads to technical debt and long-term slowness that sink transformation projects.

The challenge is that your company’s IT budgets is most likely flat, and they’re not going up anytime soon. Of the budget that you do have, 80% remain allocated, as they have been for decades, to support functions that don’t move the revenue needle-functions like system maintenance, upgrades, and security patches.

That leaves you only 20% or less of your flat IT budgets for the innovative work that helps your company take business from your competitors. That percentage isn’t nearly enough, especially as digital upstarts-free of the legacy IT systems that require so much operational heavy lifting-snap at the incumbents’ businesses, sometimes upending their business models.

Driving Collaboration Within the Organization

Collaboration between development and operations teams are indispensable when building a modern and agile IT infrastructure. Can your application team spin up a development environment in minutes? Can the team leverage cloud based platforms and shut down idle infrastructure? Can the team react to a database issue, without having to rely on the person who set it up?

ClusterControl is designed for use by DBAs, SysAdmins, and Developers. Operations personnel with no database-specific experience can use ClusterControl to spin up entire database environments and perform day to day management tasks like backups, troubleshooting performance, recovery from failures, and so on. Eliminate dependency on the individual, instead empower your entire team so everyone can contribute to moving their projects forward.

The Bottom Line

Up-front costs for software licenses are sometimes difficult to justify in your organization, especially when they are used to manage free open-source technologies. However when you consider the costs of headcount, support, cobbled-together tools, and downtime, the value of investment in a system like ClusterControl becomes apparent.

1.2. Introduction to Severalnines & ClusterControl

The Severalnines team members, mostly ex-MySQL AB staff, have dedicated over a decade of their careers helping telcos and high-traffic web properties deploy and manage high availability database clusters. These were mainly based on MySQL Replication or MySQL NDB Cluster setups. Managing high availability required that the solution was well configured in the first place, that monitoring was robust and provided enough information about workload and anomalies. Production incidents, like server failures, had to be handled in an automatic way so as to minimize downtime. A failover that required an administrator to troubleshoot the issue and execute commands to bring up a failed database or move services to another functioning database server, would just take too long - much longer than the 5 minutes of annual downtime that can be afforded to IT systems claiming 99.999% availability.

There has been a boom of open source databases in the past decade, and while many new technologies have emerged, from clustering frameworks for MySQL/MariaDB to NoSQL databases and database-aware load balancers, there has been a lack of tools out there to make these technologies easy to use. ClusterControl is an all-inclusive database management system that provides advanced deployment, management, monitoring, and scaling functionality to get open source databases up-and-running using proven methodologies.

Since its creation ClusterControl has strived to achieve its vision to make open-source database technologies stable, secure and easy-to-use for everyone. The timeline below details some of the major achievements of ClusterControl to date.

Automating database management saves us time in writing new code for checks and maintenance tools.

Andy McCulloch, IT Manager at IIL

Currently ClusterControl offers a full-suite of enterprise-grade features to help organizations deploy, manage, monitor, and scale their open source database environments. It provides full-lifecycle functionalities for database clusters and single instances, whether on premise or in the cloud - picture it like a ‘virtual team of database administrators’.

Database Deployment (Technologies Supported)

  • Databases - MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB & PostgreSQL
  • MySQL-based: Galera Cluster, MySQL NDB Cluster, Oracle Group Replication, GTID-based Master-Slave Replication, MariaDB, & Percona
  • MongoDB: ReplicaSets, Sharded Clusters from MongoDB Inc. and Percona
  • PostgreSQL: Streaming Replication
  • Load Balancers - HAProxy, ProxySQL, Keepalived, MaxScale

Key Management Features

  • Automated failover & recovery
  • Backup, Restore and Verification
  • Advanced security
  • Topology management
  • Array of automation features
  • Developer Studio for advanced orchestration
  • Operational Reports

Key Monitoring Features

  • Unified view across data centers with ability to drill down into individual nodes
  • Full stack monitoring, from load balancers to database instances down to underlying hosts
  • Query Monitoring
  • Database Advisors

Key Scaling Features

  • Replication architectures including MySQL Group Replication
  • Point-and-Click load balancing deployment and configuration
  • Workload distribution features
  • Database cloning

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