Cloud Database Services: Features & Providers

Instructor: Muhammad Wannous

Muhammad has been teaching Computer Sci. and Eng. and has a Ph.D. degree in Computer Sci. and Electrical Eng.

In this lesson, we will learn about the cloud database service, how it works, and its various features. We will also familiarize you with some of the popular cloud database services.

Cloud Database Service

Cloud Database is a database service available in the cloud platform and accessed over the internet. The spread and the increased popularity of the cloud computing environment made it inevitable for service providers to provide cloud database services. The cloud platform adds flexibility and enhanced features to the existing functions of traditional database systems. It also relives consumers from the management tasks associated with the installation of the database on dedicated hardware.

Setting a Database in the Cloud

James, Ethan, and Teresa are consumers who have issues with using dedicated hardware and wish to utilize a cloud database service; however, their requirements are quite different. James is working for an agency that is currently using an SQL database; the agency requires maximum privilege over the resources it uses. Ethan is working for a company that is presently using an SQL database but wishes to outsource the management of the platform hosting the database. Teresa has a startup and wants to use a NoSQL database for a new project.

An IT company specializing in cloud services, studies the requirements of the three consumers and recommends them the following solutions:

1) a virtual machine (VM) instance for James

2) an SQL database instance for Ethan

3) a NoSQL service from Google for Teresa

A Virtual Machine Instance

The IT company recognizes that full control over an instance hosting the database is required and recommends James to reserve a virtual machine from the service provider, set it up as a database server, and manage it like a traditional database. In this way, the agency with which James is, manages the whole system. Figure-1 shows the console of a virtual machine in Google Cloud Platform that is utilized for a MySQL database.

Figure-1: A Virtual Machine Utilized as a Database Server in Google Cloud Platform
A Virtual Machines Utilized as a Database Server in Google Cloud Platform

The IT company further explains that this scenario allows setting up other types of services on the virtual machine by the consumer and therefore it cannot be seen as a pure database service. James accepts the recommendation and follows the steps for setting a database on a virtual machine, and now he wants to run queries on it from a remote location. The IT company explains that he can connect to his database via the public IP address of the virtual machine hosting it. The connection string to the MySQL database in Figure-1 from a Java application is:
jdbc:mysql://<VM public IP>:3306/<database_name>

A Database Instance

The IT company recognizes that Ethan wants to leave the management of the resource hosting the database to the service provider and concentrate on the database administration only. The company recommends setting an SQL instance in the cloud. Ethan selects Google Cloud Platform to create a relational database. The interface provided by the platform allows selecting the database engine (Figure-2), generation (Figure-3), and primary (Figure-4) and advanced (Figure-5) options.

Figure-2: Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Engine
Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Engine

Figure-3: Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Generation
Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Generation

Figure-4: Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Basic Options
Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Basic Options

Figure-5: Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Advanced Options
Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB -Select Advanced Options

The instance administration interface (Figure-6) allows the Ethan to manage the database only on the virtual machine it is running on.

Figure-6: Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB - Management Interface
Google Cloud Platform - SQL DB - Management Interface

For running SQL queries on the database, the IT company explains that the connection string to the database instance in this scenario from a Java application is similar to the one in the case of utilizing a virtual machine:
jdbc:mysql://<Database instance public IP>:3306/<database_name>

NoSQL Database Service

The IT company recognizes that Teresa wants to utilize a NoSQL database and therefore recommends setting one instance from a service provider. The IT company explains that this type of service is proprietary to the provider, thus the connection string and queries are to be obtained from the documentation. Service providers prepare special software libraries in addition to the web interface (Figure-7) for accessing their non-relational database services.

Figure-7: Google Cloud Datatstore Web Interface
Google Cloud Datatstore Web Interface

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