Two decades on, the global shift to the cloud only continues to accelerate.

As part of their larger digital transformation strategy, leading enterprises are investing in modern applications that are easy to use, evolve rapidly and deliver a highly customized experience. Pulling that off usually requires a cloud deployment.

Other benefits of moving to the cloud include:

    • Reducing IT costs
    • Increasing business flexibility
    • Improving a given product or platform
    • Strengthening data security
    • Accelerating growth
    • Upgrading other business operations

Gartner recently predicted that by 2026, spending on the public cloud will grow to surpass 45% of all enterprise IT expenditures, from less than 17% only five years earlier in 2021.

As more and more applications move to the cloud, it follows that the databases underlying those applications will also move to the cloud in order to ensure low latency between application and database. One trend within this larger cloud shift is that many vendors now offer their database software as a service.

Organizations large and small significantly benefit from these database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offerings. Let’s take a closer look at why.

What Is a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS)?

A database-as-a-service is a fully programmable database system deployed in a public cloud and managed for the customer by the DBaaS provider.

A DBaaS is designed and built to be automated, highly available, secure and manage routine maintenance like backups. A database-as-a-service simplifies database management by deploying, managing and operating in the background so that end-users can focus on application development and their business goals.

Some DBaaS are built by public cloud vendors and hence limited to that cloud, while independent vendors are often multi-cloud. Horizontal scaling is a common feature of DBaaS offerings, allowing customers to quickly adjust their systems to their usage needs.

In terms of security, communication and data need to be secured with the latest encryption standards both at rest and in-flight. Strict role-based access control mechanisms also need to be in place to support corporate policies.

What a DBaaS Is Not

Just because a database in the cloud is offered as a fully managed service doesn’t mean there’s zero work for the customer or end user.

While most of the mundane setup and ongoing operational aspects are taken care of, the end user still has some responsibilities, such as:

    • Designing the application to align to the database
    • Data modeling
    • Optimizing access patterns
    • Cluster sizing
    • Performance tuning
    • Managing user access

Basic Requirements of Any DBaaS

There are many “table stakes” requirements for any database-as-a-service offering.

Here are some of the most important:

    • The database needs to be easy to manage. This might seem obvious, but the more that’s automated and the more recommendations that the DBaaS provides, the easier your life will be.
    • A DBaaS needs a simple-but-powerful control plane to ensure you can easily manage your data everywhere.
    • There should be multiple database migration options. Moving your data from an on-prem or private cloud solution to a public cloud provider should be smooth.
    • The DBaaS needs to be secure and easy to control – protecting data is critical!
    • The database-as-a-service offering should have a flexible pricing model supported by “cloud economics,” allowing you to start small and grow with the service.

How to Pick the Right Database-as-a-Service

Many DBaaS options exist on the market. So how do you pick the right one? Here are a few points to consider.

It needs to be fast, particularly at scale. Speed matters in a dev environment, but if a DBaaS offering slows down (or crashes!) when your team puts it in production, you’ve chosen the wrong database – and wasted a lot of dev time. Couchbase‘s memory-first architecture delivers millisecond response times for enterprise organizations and their mission-critical applications.

The DBaaS platform must be flexible. The more agile your database is, the more workloads – operational, transactional, analytical – you can support and the richer your application. A document database provides much greater flexibility than rigid relational systems. In addition to a document data model, Couchbase also provides built-in services like key-value access, full-text search, eventing and analytics. This gives your developers a broad and flexible toolset with which to build, reducing the need for other technologies. Bottom line: less to learn, code, integrate, license, secure and support.

Beyond speed, high availability is key to an “always-on” application. Clusters – whether spread out across multiple availability zones, geographic regions or separate cloud providers – should work together and replicate data between areas automatically. With built-in replication capabilities, Couchbase delivers five-nines availability for always-on data.

A database-as-a-service should leverage your organization’s skillsets. SQL is the world’s most common database query language: It’s known to developers, DBAs, analysts, report writers, support teams and more. By effectively using SQL, your application is easier to build, understand and support. If you know SQL, you’ll love Couchbase’s SQL++ query language (aka N1QL) to support full SQL syntax within a JSON database.

Finally, a DBaaS should drive down the TCO of your system, particularly as it grows. According to their own numbers, 76% of Couchbase customers claim they lowered their total cost of ownership (TCO) by more than 25% with Couchbase. Check out the customer case studies for yourself on TechValidate.


The results speak for themselves: Organizations benefit by moving to the cloud, and databases are no exception.

That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why Couchbase consistently delivers a broad range of capabilities for customers across several deployment options, including DBaaS.

Want to learn more about Couchbase offerings in the cloud? Join me at our free annual conference, Couchbase Connect. You’ll hear from Couchbase customers and learn about our newest product offerings before they hit the newswire.

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Posted by Tim Rottach, Director of Product Line Marketing

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