Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) is a relatively new entry in the field of cloud-based deployment models, but it’s rapidly gaining in popularity. According to a new study by research firm Technavio, the DBaaS market is expected to see spectacular growth, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 65 percent until 2020.
DBaaS adoption lies at the intersection of two trends: ever-increasing data volumes and the rise of mobile devices. By putting their databases in the cloud, organizations can scale quickly and cost-effectively to meet changing demands, and more effectively support mobile applications and services.
Another key value of DBaaS lies in its ability to simplify the management of database resources. It reduces administrative overhead by eliminating the need for internal IT resources to manage virtual machines, operating systems, database software and backups. It also removes various levels of complexity and allows a single user or software developer to provision and manage a large number of databases.
DBaaS is closely related to Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), a cloud model that provides the tools and services programmers need to develop and deploy applications. With PaaS, developers can focus on writing code instead of managing or even understanding the underlying infrastructure. Automated tools enable self-service provisioning of the resources needed to support the applications.
Windows Azure SQL Database (formerly called SQL Azure) is Microsoft’s DBaaS offering. Based on SQL Server and built on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform, Azure SQL Database is hosted on infrastructure that is owned, managed and maintained by Microsoft. It is an ideal solution for new cloud-designed applications with time and marketing constraints, and suitable for applications that need built-in high availability, disaster recovery and upgrade features.
Azure SQL Database is billed as a service and does not require a separate SQL Server license. It is available in Basic, Standard and Premium service tiers, which are billed hourly at a fixed rate based upon the service tier and performance level you choose. Designed to deliver predictable performance levels, the service tiers are scalable and can be upgraded with no service interruption. If a database has high transactional volume and needs to support many concurrent users, Microsoft recommends the Premium service tier.
Since its inception, Azure SQL Database has evolved with the Windows Azure platform to become a key component of the Azure cloud. Features and functionality have been added over time, gradually closing the gaps between the PaaS offering and SQL Server. Azure SQL Database also enables developers to work with familiar tools, such as Visual Studio SQL Server Management Studio, and supports third-party and open-source development tools and frameworks.
Azure SQL Database is just one of the ways you can leverage SQL Server on the Azure cloud platform. In a future post we’ll explore SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution that comes with more management and licensing complexity but offers greater control and customization of the SQL deployment.
Selecting the appropriate deployment model depends upon various aspects of the workload, including cost, sizing, system performance and control requirements. Contact us to discuss the features, benefits, limitations and use cases of the IaaS and PaaS options.
Written and composed by our Microsoft Systems Engineer, Raul R. Perez II