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Is it time to move your databases to the cloud?

John Moore | Oct. 8, 2014
Faster time to market increasingly drives firms of all sizes to move their databases to the cloud. Options range from managed services to more of a databases-as-a-service. Even companies used to rolling their own technology solutions are drawn to cloud databases.

Cloud Database Deployment Approaches Differ
Cloud databases adopters can choose from a number of deployment methods. Scobie said Akamai opted to go with a somewhat hybridized DBaaS model.

Cloudant provides dedicated, Akamai-specific database clusters. Scobie says this approach, as opposed to a more generic, multi-tenant environment, helps Akamai offset its security concerns. (He points out that Akamai acts as the custodian of customers' ecommerce applications running on its networks, so it must protect client data as well as its own.)

Security and time to market helped define Akamai's cloud database approach, but the ability to scale also played a role. "We sort of assume that most things we put into a production environment are going to scale up very quickly to Akamai-level standards," Scobie says.

The company deals with immense volume at times. In July, Akamai reported its highest overall total traffic peak 23 Tbps during the Germany-Brazil World Cup semifinal match.

Performance also shapes eVestment's cloud database service, although the company faces a different challenge compared with Akamai. While Akamai's core media content delivery products must accommodate millions of users, eVestment has far fewer users initiating larger, more intense individual sessions.

Mitchell says eVestment's database and associated tools experience thousands of customer visits what the company terms "profile views" each day. The processing workload for individual sessions can prove quite demanding, though.

"Everything is about performance," Mitchell says. "The eVestment platform processes over 10,000 online profile or report transactions on a daily basis, but a given transaction could involve millions of raw calculations."

The key test for eVestment: Offering investment managers the same level of service in a multi-tenant cloud that they could obtain from an in-house system. Investment managers traditionally built and managed their own databases and analytical tools, Mitchell notes.

Mitchell says eVestment has its own private cloud within INetU. The hosting partner took steps to help eVestment meet its performance goals. For one, the company deployed what Mitchell described as a high-performance storage infrastructure for eVestment, creating a flexible storage model for its private cloud that provides top-performing solid state drive (SSD) storage along with lower-performing storage for situations where speed isn't as important.

Mitchell says this storage approach helps balance the price performance equation. Using SAN cache and SSDs provide maximum performance where needed, while the lower-performance storage helps keep costs in check.

INetU cites the company's capability to create custom solutions for private, public and hybrid clouds as an attractive feature for customers. "Rather than offering pre-packaged, 'off the shelf' solutions," says David Fowler, vice president of marketing at INetU, "we work with companies of all sizes and industries to understand their specific business goals, technical requirements and security needs."


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