Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) allows businesses to store and access their database systems in the cloud. With the rise of cloud computing, more and more businesses are turning to cloud providers to manage their relational databases.
The Rise of Cloud Computing and Relational Databases
Businesses can use their database management system, without having to purchase new hardware or set it up. Software developers are finding it easier to integrate with the DBaaS model, especially when developing mobile apps. DBaaS, a prominent cloud service, is one of the fastest-growing categories of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings and is expected to reach $320 billion by 2025.
DBaaS offers key benefits that include cost savings, scalability, optimized database capabilities, simpler database management, rapid development, and reduced risk. However, using a DBaaS is not without its set of challenges. This blog post will explore some of the major challenges in database management that businesses can expect, especially when transitioning from traditional database servers.
There are six major challenges around DBaaS implementation, regardless of the size of the database or the type of database system.
1. Security and Privacy Concerns
Reliable security and privacy are the bedrock of any data-driven business. Companies often underemphasize the need to ensure the privacy of their sensitive data and the security of the database.
While DBaaS providers do their part in securing their infrastructure and complying with regulations, businesses sometimes falter in their organizational control responsibilities. It’s in this gap that unauthorized access, hacking, and data breaches, even from human error, can occur.
Database administrators (DBAs) spend on average 90% of their time on maintenance tasks, according to Oracle’s Cloud Business Group surveys and they play a crucial role in this aspect. To avoid security pitfalls, companies must maintain control of their database systems and data, even when they are hosted in the public cloud DBaaS. They have to be on top of any potential issues and threats that may compromise their data security.
Several layers need to be maintained and regularly audited for data integrity; even minor issues must be investigated. Before companies migrate their database system into the cloud, they have to ensure two key safeguards are in place:
- Data encryption: DBaaS security, a core aspect of cloud services, includes encryption options for their customers, but companies should also use their own encryption methods to add an extra layer of security.
- Access control: Access control is the process of defining who can access what data and how. Access control policies should be enforced both at the database level and at the application level. Companies should also enforce strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and the least-privilege principle to restrict access to their data and database.
2. Compliance and Regulatory Challenges
Wherever there is any kind of data storage involved, regulatory and compliance challenges aren’t far behind. Companies typically store a wide variety of data in their database management system.
This could include personal information, financial records, health records, vital data, or even intellectual property. Depending on the type and location of the data, multiple policies and laws govern where this data can reside and how it can be accessed and transferred.
For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union requires companies to store the personal data of EU citizens only in countries with adequate data protection laws. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States gives consumers the right to know what personal data is collected by businesses and how it is used and shared.
These regulations pose a challenge for DBaaS providers and database administrators, as most cloud service providers typically aren’t flexible when it comes to storing multiple data types in different regions or jurisdictions. This can limit the options and increase the costs for DBaaS users who need to comply with various data sovereignty requirements.
ScaleGrid has found ways to give businesses the ability to successfully implement DBaaS solutions regardless of the data type or location. Because ScaleGrid supports multiple deployment locations and scalable data models within one interface, customers have full control of their database engine. They can also easily migrate their data across regions or clouds without any downtime or data loss.
By offering this flexibility and control, ScaleGrid helps customers overcome the legal and regulatory challenges in DBaaS. They can enjoy the benefits of cloud databases while ensuring compliance with data sovereignty laws and policies.
3. High Availability and Reliability
Most DBaaS providers have done a great job of ensuring high availability and reliability for database workloads. They offer various features, including replication, backup, failover, load balancing, monitoring, and disaster recovery. However, they are still not immune to performance throttling and downtimes.
Businesses depend on cloud providers for effective infrastructure oversight. If cloud providers face system breakdowns, businesses are left without database access until the problem is resolved.
One solution is to host the primary database with one cloud service vendor and the secondary databases with another cloud provider or region. This way, if one cloud provider or region experiences a failure or outage, the other one can take over and provide continuity of service in this hybrid cloud infrastructure.
However, DBaaS providers themselves may not be immune to failures or outages that can affect their infrastructure or network. How many times have we seen a region of a Hyperscaler go down? Or, in some cases, a networking issue pops up, giving the impression of a system being offline. Mitigating this risk without driving the cost through the roof is the challenge.
This makes it even more crucial for companies planning to use Database-as-a-Service to carefully evaluate their requirements and expectations and design their database architecture accordingly.
Some of the questions to consider are:
- How much downtime or data loss can you tolerate?
- How fast do you need to recover from a failure or outage?
- How much control do you need over their database configuration and settings?
- How much DBaaS security are you going to need?
- How much are you willing to pay for high availability and reliability features?
High availability begins with the overall configuration, which needs to be straightforward. Companies need to have granular control of the configuration. They have to be able to adjust the I/O of their system with a few clicks and settings changes when they have spikes. They also need to monitor and adjust their configuration and settings as their data grows and changes over time.
4. Backup and Recovery
DBaaS providers need to have reliable safeguards in place to ensure that customer data is securely backed up and that they can restore it in case of any disaster or corruption. However, backup and recovery can get tricky. Different types of data, databases, and use cases require different strategies and tools.
At ScaleGrid, we understand that backup and recovery are both technical and business problems. Whether you need point-in-time recovery, incremental backups, cross-region replication, or encryption at rest, ScaleGrid has you covered. You can easily configure and manage your backups through our intuitive web interface or API, and monitor their status and performance through our dashboard.
But we don’t stop there. ScaleGrid also provides innovative features that make backup and recovery even easier and faster. For instance, our “Peek at Backup” feature allows you to quickly spin up a clone of your backup, inspect it, retrieve any data you need, and then delete it with a few clicks.
Such capabilities are useful for backup verification, retrieval of unintentionally removed data, or for audit and testing purposes. With ScaleGrid, you can be confident that your data is consistently safeguarded and maintained in prime condition.
5. Internal and External Integration Issues
One of the often overlooked challenges is the entire integration with a company’s internal infrastructure. Databases, especially relational databases, do not operate in silos, or at least they shouldn’t. They are often integral components of a larger application or sometimes a system of applications.
If your DBaaS provider hosts for you, then your application won’t be in the same network or location, and the system overall will need its setup and security. This can sometimes lead to vendor lock-in issues.
There is also the matter of scaling. Hosting with a DBaaS provider can be very challenging when, for example, database performance is challenged. There can be instances where it may not be under your control to scale this service. Or it may be under your control, but only in a ‘t-shirt sizing capacity.’
Because scaling is not something a company can tweak and control on a granular level, it can throw your entire database operations out of gear. Many companies can get by without the ability to scale on demand, but this can create major issues for companies with mission-critical workloads, large amounts of structured data, and those experiencing high growth rates.
A DBaaS provider will generally have a bigger client or issue to deal with. This means that when they have to choose between giving your workload more I/O or giving it to a larger client, you will probably pull the short end of the stick.
We are not blaming the DBaaS providers, as even ScaleGrid offers a service that follows the same model. However there are ways to offer customizable scaling for your databases, and we highly recommend making sure this is an option with your chosen provider.
6. Database Management Cost Concerns
Using a Database-as-a-Service platform can be more expensive than self-managed databases in the long run, which makes some companies apprehensive about adopting a DBaaS solution. The costs can be related to the size and scale, the customization of the system, or the services related to it overall.
But these costs are generally transparent. So companies worried about costs can:
- First, decide how much control and flexibility they want and what the best options are for their company
- Choose carefully between the type of DBaaS they can adopt: On-premises DBaaS, Bring your own Cloud DBaaS, or a fully hosted DBaaS.
- Conduct a careful analysis of the costs and benefits before adopting a DBaaS solution.
- Plan for scaling and avoiding runaway costs at every stage of the DBaaS lifecycle.
Empowering Database Administrators: ScaleGrid Cloud Service
ScaleGrid can help. Reach out to us today and let us help you and your team find the right solution, whether it’s hosting your database on-premises, hosting in your cloud account, or letting us handle all aspects of database management for you.
ScaleGrid is a fully managed database hosting solution that will make cloud databases not only more efficient to run but also always available with minimum downtime. Our service provides hybrid capabilities that combine on-premises and cloud deployments. It allows users to significantly cut down time managing, deploying, and maintaining their advanced database server deployments, solving complicated and time-consuming tasks with a few clicks.
Try ScaleGrid to see it in action. Your first 14 days are on us, no strings attached.