Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Kong Yang, John Rauser

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microsoft Cloud, Silverlight, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Amazon RDS vs. SQL Azure

The birth of the DBMS Utility

Amazon Cloud Journal

Back in July I wrote my post about databases in the cloud.  The big surprise that I discovered at the time was that the only “Native” RDBMS offering in the cloud came from Microsoft. Microsoft SQL Azure (launching formally at the PDC in a few weeks) is a mostly-compatible SQL Server as a Service release complete with support for Transact SQL/TDS.  SQL Azure is a multitenanted DBMS with several customers running databases up to 10GB in size on a single server.  Their target is the 95% of business applications running in the enterprise that have databases with less than 5GB of data (based on their research).  Well, Microsoft is alone no more.

Today, Amazon’s Werner Vogels announced the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), which is a fully MySQL 5.1-compatible database as a service offering.  Sure, Joyent launched their MySQL Accelerator in August, but nobody seemed to notice.  Today’s RDS announcement from Amazon, combined with SQL Azure, heralds a new era in production scale RDBMS-as-a-Service (RDBaaS).  By answering SQL Azure and fully validating the RDBaaS opportunity, Amazon has jump-started a fundamental transition in the $18B market for database systems.

DBMSs are now part of the utility model of cloud computing.

Historically, DBMSs have been something that you licensed (CapEx), installed, and physically managed and administered.  Going forward, DBMSs will be something you use and perform logical administration and tuning on top of — but you won’t install, configure them, or worry about your log files jamming your disks and crashing your Web site.  The RDBMS will just be there, ready for your applications, automatically backed up and replicated, and operated flawlessly as part of the fabric of your cloud.

The DBMS Market Dynamic

By providing MySQL, Amazon is catering to the Web and SaaS crowd, and less so to the enterprise.  Conversely, Microsoft is well-positioned to compete in the far larger and more lucrative enterprise RDBMS market.  Yes, there is MySQL in the enterprise, but it’s a side-show to Oracle, SQL Server and IBM’s DB2 (with a sprinkling of Sybase and others).

Speaking of which, how will Oracle, IBM and Sybase respond?  IBM has their cloud offerings and will support DB2 fully – but will they be as innovative?  Oracle’s stalled acquisition of Sun may eventually lead to an Oracle cloud where they would be able to offer a similar service.  And frankly, out of all of the DBMSs out there, Oracle’s users have the most to gain from not having to hassle with that big and hard to manage system.  Sybase?  They seem to be dateless at this point.  They don’t offer a cloud (and likely won’t), can’t get a leading cloud to back them with their small market share, and tend to only be used in really intense applications like trading and risk analytics on Wall Street – which are less likely to migrate to the cloud soon.

I don’t see a scenario where MySQL-based DBaaS offerings aren’t dominating the Web/SaaS market (MySQL the software dominates it today).  Nor do I see a market for enterprise DBaaS that doesn’t have SQL Azure in the lead.   There will be crossover (more with MySQL in the enterprise than SQL Azure in the Web/SaaS environment).  Oracle may be able to craft a solution that enterprise-focused cloud providers (Terremark, Unisys, etc.) can use, but I wouldn’t bet on it soon.

Amazon RDS and Microsoft SQL Azure Compared

This is not intended to be a rigorous review, but there are some fairly significant differences in the approach taken by these vendors that are worth exploring.

Deployment Model

SQL Azure is a multi-tenant service with multiple DBs on the same machine in a shared infrastructure environment.  In some ways this is similar to how I believe Rackspace manages MySQL in their Cloud Sites business.  You don’t manage the types of instance you run other than to select from two pricing tiers.  The pros of this model is that they can offer SQL Server for as low as $10/month up to 1GB (or $99/month for 10G — nothing in the middle).  If there’s a downside, it’s that some users might want to feel more like they can kick the dbms more directly.  Also, by having a 10GB limit they force design decisions on applications with larger databases. They recommend partitioning (sharding) your data set across  multiple DBMS instances to manage more than 10GB.

RDS is a bit different in that they provision individual special-purpose EC2 instances into your AWS account with a larger range of databases — from 5GB to 1 terabyte!  They also let you control the type of instance, from Small (1.7GB RAM, 1 virtual core, etc) to Quadruple Extra Large – no foam – (68GB RAM, 8 souped up virtual cores, etc.).  This gives you more control, but also makes you have to think more about your database — but then that’s how AWS works overall.  You can get pretty large (1TB) without sharding due to size, though you may have to shard your DBMS for performance as this is not a “scale out” solution.  My friends at Akiba Technologies in Boston are building a killer engine that eliminates sharding and radically improves performance for most MySQL applications. They’re a couple months from alpha, but this stuff is seriously kickin’ and should be considered by any other cloud provider feeling the need to compete in the RDBaaS space (disclosure, I am an advisor to Akiba).

One note is that, unlike SQL Azure, your bill can get pretty large for RDS.  The smallest instance, is $0.11/hour, which is $80.30 per month (they are planning “reserved instance” pricing in the future – which will reduce that price).  For their largest server, the bill is $2,270/month – plus you pay for the DBMS storage separately at $0.10/GB).

Database Support

SQL Azure is mostly compatible with SQL Server, but not 100%.  SQL Azure supports a reasonably large subset of T-SQL.  Here is their FAQ on compatibility:

SQL Azure is built on SQL Server database technologies that are used for running mission-critical applications in the enterprise as well as on the Web. Since SQL Server is a broad data platform that can handle all data types from birth to archival, there are many associated capabilities that the data platform provides. SQL Azure is exposing a large subset of these relational capabilities and extending them as services in the cloud.

These services feature built-in high scale, availability, and self-management, and are provided in a way that makes it easy for customers and partners to consume over the Internet. SQL Azure, in its first iteration, exposes only the core RDBMS capabilities of what is in the full SQL Server data platform.

RDS, conversely, is 100% compatible with MySQL 5.1.  This is pretty sweet!

There are many more things to cover, and perhaps I’ll continue this post at another time.  The bottom line is that the market now has two credible, robust and innovative RDBaaS solutions, and it won’t be long before there are more.  Welcome to the era of the DBMS Utility.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By John Treadway

John Treadway is a Vice President at Cloud Technology Partners and has over 20 years of experience delivering technology and business solutions to domestic and global enterprises across multiple industries and sectors. As a senior enterprise technology and services executive, he has a successful track record of leading strategic cloud computing and data center initiatives. John is responsible for technology IP at Cloud Technology Partners, and is actively involved with client projects and strategic alliances. John is also an active blogger in the cloud computing space and authors the CloudBzz blog. Sites/Blogs CloudBzz

@CloudExpo Stories
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...