Summer 2011: A Banner Season for Cloud Databases

Wow! What a summer for cloud databases. It looks like what I expressed earlier this year is starting to hit full stride. While I was busy with at my day job and not posting on this blog, there’s was an incredible amount of news related to Database as a Service (DbaaS) since July.

I’ll plan on doing a post on each product when I get some time. But for now, here are some quick summaries to help get you caught up. is generally available [full disclosure: I work for]. Announced last December, is now officially open for business. You can sign up and get started for free! Make sure to see the DevCenter for a long list of resources that will help get you started. Personally, I think the don’t miss piece to read is the paper Architecting Apps, A Design Primer because it gives you a feel for the technology behind the marketing messages, including open, social, mobile.

VMware vFabric Data Director

From VMware’s Web site, “vFabric Data Director is an enterprise solution that extends the benefits of VMware’s leading virtualization platform to the database tier and lets administrators securely automate and delegate routine tasks, including database provisioning, backup, and cloning. The first database supported on Data Director is VMware vFabric Postgres 9.0 (vPostgres), a new offering from VMware based on and fully compatible with PostgreSQL.” There’s a nice data sheet that gives you some great background on the product.

A couple of things I focused on while reading the data sheet include:

  • The datasheet states “Robust Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) restricts system access to authorized users. Granular privileges enable IT administrators to control which users can take what actions at a fine-grain level.” Sounds great, but the statement lacks detail. A quick scan of the Postgres 9.0.4 documentation tells me that you can do some field-level security. But if you want row-level security, I think you’ll have to build it yourself.
  • Elastic Database Memory seems like a nice feature. “Patent-pending technology integrates the database memory structures with vSphere to finally enable databases to fully leverage vSphere’s virtual resource capabilities, while maintaining consistent database performance even with unexpected workload spikes.” Not sure why the word “finally” is included in that description?
  • Also nice, “Smart Database Configuration – vFabric Postgres 9.0’s smart database configuration algorithm automatically derives optimized database configurations without involving DBAs.” I’d like to test that one out personally, as I’ve run across many a DBA in my day that couldn’t configure systems to save their lives 😉
  • “Scalable, elastic, multi-tenant”. I see these terms thrown in marketing pieces all time without much explanation. Drives me nuts! I need some details here. How does it scale? Does it scale for both read and write throughput? Multi-tenant? How so?

EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Cloud Server

From the EnterpriseDb Web site, “Postgres Plus Cloud Server is cloud provisioning software that automatically scales out PostgreSQL and Postgres Plus Advanced Server databases (i.e. upgrade CPU class, add storage, and manage replicas) to provide DaaS (Database as a Service) in both public and private cloud environments.” Other than getting the wrong acronym for Database as a Service (it’s DbaaS, not DaaS, which stands for Data as a Service), the product description is exciting. The product is in Private Beta at the time of this writing, and currently supports both Amazon and Eucalyptus private clouds.

The folks at EnterpriseDB have been doing Postgres for some time now, so I’m sure they’ll do a fine job of taking Postgres to the cloud. There is some great background information at the site, so check it out. Best I can tell is that they are supporting Postgres v8.3. And the replication for scalability is read-only replication — that’s fine for some apps, but not for high-volume OLTP apps.

Heroku Postgres

Ok, another Postgres cloud database service. Seeing a trend here?

Heroku [full disclosure: Heroku is part of, the company that I work for] has also been doing the Postgres thing for quite a while now, so they’ve got it down pretty well too. From the Web site, “A powerful, reliable, and durable open-source SQL-compliant database, PostgreSQL is the datastore of choice for serious applications. Now it is available in seconds with a single click . Never worry about servers. Never worry about config files. Never worry about patches. Simply focus on your data.” A couple of innovations to check out are the Fork and Follow features, something I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Xeround Add-On for Heroku

During its Beta, I tried Xeround and really liked it. These folks have done a nice job of making it easy to provision and use MySQL in the cloud. For example, tied into the Xeround UI you have access to the same database administration/data browser tool most of us are already familiar with — phpMyAdmin.

Now Xeround is expanding its reach to different platforms. In addition to availability on Amazon AWS and Rackspace, you can now tie Heroku apps to Xeround databases. Pretty cool if you like Heroku.

NuoDB (formerly NimbusDB)

NimbusDB, covered several times before in this blog, is now NuoDB, and has moved into Beta 2 stage. Personally, I like the old name better. By the way, is that old URL for sale Jim?


ScaleBase 1.0 is now available. Scalebase helps you with MySQL sharding by implementing a SQL load balancer in front of your servers. Although not a DbaaS itself, I include this product in the discussion because Scalebase is available as a service (as well as a downloadable product).

Next up: A full DbaaS Product Directory update with the information related to all of this great news!


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  1. #1 by Steven Johns on October 1, 2011 - 8:22 pm

    The best one we have come across is ZeusDB. You can connect any existing API or Data mining program to it. They do have an API themselves but you can use either. Once you get connected you control everything about your database.

    • #2 by Steve Bobrowski on October 2, 2011 - 10:46 am

      I just added this to the updated DbaaS product directory. Thanks.

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