Rackspace
Cloud Databases
®
Fast. Open. Fully managed.
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Cover
Table of Contents
1.Introduction
1
2. Key Challenges of Managing Relational Databases
2
3. The Benefits of Cloud Databases
3
4. Worry-Free Hosting
7
5. Cloud Databases vs. Unmanaged Cloud
8
6. Cloud Databases Use Cases
9
7.Conclusion
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Contents
10
1.Introduction
Relational databases are a pillar of enterprise operations and business management.
Because of their role in underpinning mission-critical workloads, IT leaders face unique
challenges in managing them — namely, investing in time-consuming administration,
ensuring consistent performance and scaling to meet spikes in user demand.
Rackspace Cloud Databases is a stand-alone relational database service designed to
address those challenges. Built on OpenStack®, Cloud Databases allows Rackspace
customers to easily provision and manage multiple MySQL database instances, save time
on maintenance and administration, and transition between database distributions with
little hassle. Instances are provisioned in a single-tenant, container-based environment
and are accessible via the Rackspace internal ServiceNet network. Each database instance
is optimized for performance. Cloud Database customers can choose between MySQL,
Percona or MariaDB as the database technology.
Because Cloud Databases’ internal architecture was explicitly designed to provide a unique,
high-performance relational database service in the cloud, it creates an environment that is:
• Fully managed
•Performant
•Open
•Reliable
These benefits alone should resonate with IT executives and database administrators, but
another differentiator of Rackspace service is its Fanatical Support®. This allows IT leaders
to focus entirely on improving efficiencies and servicing new technology requests, rather
than maintaining infrastructure to support database operations.
WHAT TYPE OF BUSINESS IS BEST SUITED FOR CLOUD DATABASES?
Cloud Databases is a fully managed service for customers who want to focus on
developing or growing their applications and not worry about the underlying database
infrastructure. The service offers both automated and on-demand backups and restores,
integrated monitoring, redundant storage, scalability to grow based on your application
needs and full control of your database application. While it can be leveraged by any
customer with a Rackspace cloud account, this service is ideal for companies that are
looking to leverage a scalable database solution in the cloud without having to manage
the hardware or database services needed to run a database on a dedicated server. Users
can access all these parameters through an easy-to-use control panel.
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Page 1
2.Key Challenges of Managing
Relational Databases
IT leaders often face three key issues when it comes to relational databases:
Administration pains: In many organizations, database administrators spend a
disproportionate amount of time managing existing databases. The opportunity
cost of this administrative work can be significant because it leaves DBAs little
time to provision, test and tune new databases that support further application
development.
Performance stability: Ensuring fast, consistent performance is difficult for
any database because high I/O workloads are especially impacted by resource
constraints. This can lead to inconsistent results and frustrating experiences for
customers.
Expensive scalability: Scaling relational databases to process increasingly large
volumes of data requires expensive DBA expertise and significant planning, which
can lead to difficulties in reading, writing, and replicating data; poor database
uptime and availability; and a lack of data redundancy.
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Page 2
3.The Benefits of Cloud Databases
FULLY MANAGED SOLUTION
Rackspace set out to build a robust service that makes it simple for businesses to
deploy, optimize and scale their MySQL databases on demand in the cloud. This frees
up customers’ DBAs to focus on improving applications.
As a fully managed database hosting solution, Cloud Databases offers customers
access to Rackspace experts. That means Rackspace DBAs and customer data engineers
(CDEs) help design, configure, manage, scale, optimize and secure customer database
environments. And with Rackspace industry-leading Fanatical Support, customers
receive consultation and services relating to a wide range of issues, such as schema
design and query optimization.
Examples of services included with Rackspace:
Architecture design, optimization and configuration
Assistance designing data models
Deployment
Data migration assistance
Security configuration (ACL, accounts, etc.)
Advanced administration, monitoring and alerting
Maintenance
Managed patching and updates
Upgrades of MySQL, Percona or MariaDB versions
Consultation with Rackspace DBAs to solve scalability challenges
Scaling
Provision new instances
Resizing and/or growing instances
Performance tuning and issue diagnosis
Optimization
Query optimization
Disaster recovery solutions (DR) and business continuity
Recommend and plan replication to DR site
Backups
and DR
Participate in DNS management for failover to DR site
Participate in DR RTO/RPO requirements
Restores from backups
Automatic backups
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In addition, the cloud infrastructure underpinning Rackspace Cloud Databases allows
for easy and fast provisioning, and its intuitive control panel empowers both advanced
DBAs and less experienced users to monitor and manage databases. With just a couple
clicks through the Cloud Database control panel, users can quickly configure or create a
new instance, user or database. This database-as-a-service (DBaaS) model allows Cloud
Databases customers to avoid performing application changes that relate to the
database because they can simply connect the app to the database and allow
“Rackspace says
the service to seamlessly scale, maintain and manage all back-end functions.
In scenarios where a particular application relies on a significant number of
databases (i.e., hundreds or thousands), Cloud Databases’ API is an ideal
solution. It gives companies full access to their MySQL instances — a benefit not
offered by other relational database service providers.
In addition, Cloud Databases makes it easy for customers to vertically scale their
database up and down as needed. Customers can scale RAM (from 512MB to
up to 64GB) as their workload changes and scale storage up (as high as 300GB,
with larger volumes available upon request) with zero downtime.
FULL, OPEN ACCESS
Another major benefit of using Cloud Databases is the freedom to choose
between MySQL variants. Cloud Databases includes support for multiple MySQLcompatible variants and versions, including MySQL, Percona Server and MariaDB.
Each of these variants provides unique appeal to businesses for different reasons:
• MySQL remains the world’s most widely used open-source relational
database service in part because it is easy to use and supports numerous
operating systems and development interfaces. A slight drawback to MySQL
is that it cannot scale with high write/read ratios.
they have Fanatical
Support, and they
absolutely do. It
allows me to focus
on the things I do
well and not have
to worry about all
these other things
that are over my
head or not in my
realm of expertise…
without Rackspace,
we couldn’t do
what we do.”
– TJ Horlacher
CTO of SnapPages
• Percona Server is a MySQL alternative offering breakthrough performance, scalability,
features and instrumentation. Self-tuning algorithms and support for extremely
high-performance hardware makes it the clear choice for organizations that demand
excellent performance and reliability from their MySQL database server.
• MariaDB is a popular community-developed replacement for MySQL that features bug
fixes, performance improvements and strict binary and API compatibility with MySQL.
Because Cloud Databases is built on OpenStack®, companies can maintain full control of
their database. In fact, customers can enable the root user on their database instance
directly through Cloud Databases’ CLI or API, or control granular user permissions by
enabling the root user for the database instance and logging in through MySQL directly.
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FAST, HIGH-PERFORMANCE INFRASTRUCTURE
Cloud Databases is tailored to deliver fast, predictable performance for high I/O
MySQL database workloads. Cloud Databases instances come preconfigured for peak
performance. Customers can also customize the default configuration settings and make
persistent changes to further optimize for specific workload using the CLI and API.
The chart below shows the difference between running MySQL on Cloud Databases
versus running it on Rackspace general-purpose Cloud Servers. In this particular example,
performance was measured using sysbench, with a table size of 2 million rows run from
a 4GB Cloud Server client with 200Mbps of network throughput and a Cloud Database
instance of identical specifications.
The results show that the Cloud Databases generally perform better than their Cloud
Server counterparts, especially when under load.
1800
1600
Transactions per Second
1400
1200
1000
4 GB Cloud Server
8 GB Cloud Server
16 GB Cloud Server
4 GB Cloud Database
8 GB Cloud Database
16 GB Cloud Database
800
600
400
200
8
16
32
64
128
Number of Threads
MySQL Performance – Cloud Servers vs. Cloud Databases
Info source: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/cloud-databases-and-block-storage-benchmarks-cost-ofperformance-and-the-overprovisioning-tax/
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Page 5
CONTAINER-BASED VIRTUALIZATION
Part of what allows Cloud Databases to create this high-performance infrastructure
is container-based virtualization. Traditional hardware virtualization uses virtualized
memory, processors and hard drives that can impose significant penalties for databases
and often require significant overhead from running multiple operating systems.
Container-based virtualization, on the other hand, provides close-to-native performance
with higher density, no virtual hardware and a single, shared OS.
Virtual Machine
Virtual Machine
Guest OS
Guest OS
Virtual Hardware
Virtual Hardware
Hypervisor / Shared Host OS
Container
Container
Shared Host OS
Hardware
Hardware
ATTACHED STORAGE VOLUMES
Each Cloud Databases instance also comes with an attached storage volume. Storage
volumes are automatically provisioned on a shared Internet Small Computer System
Interface (iSCSI) storage area network (SAN) that provides increased performance,
scalability, availability and manageability with synchronous replication across available
storage clusters. Applications with high I/O demands are performance-optimized, and
data is protected through both local and network RAID-10.
EASY REPLICATION
For read-heavy workloads, Cloud Databases customers can also create read replicas of
their database instance and use these replicas for distributing read traffic for a given
application. This can significantly improve the overall application performance. Cloud
Databases is also ideally suited for a large number of applications used for performing
analysis and business reporting. Cloud Databases allows users to run such queries
against a replica without affecting the performance of writes/updates on the source
database instance.
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4.Worry-Free Hosting
With Cloud Databases, businesses running mission-critical MySQL workloads
no longer need to worry about the stability, security or availability of
their relational databases. With automated backup and restore operations
supported for InnoDB and MyISAM storage engines, Cloud Databases uses
a hot copy of all databases on an instance, with the resulting files stored in
Rackspace Cloud Files.
Cloud Databases helps ensure service is worry-free by providing three other
key features:
1.Automatic monitoring and alarms: Pre-configured Cloud Monitoring
health checks include load average, CPU, memory, disk storage, network
and multiple metrics for MySQL. Cloud Databases customers can also
configure additional alarms and receive email notifications for supported
metrics using the Cloud Control Panel, the Cloud Monitoring API or the
Cloud Monitoring CLI.
“Rackspace has been
invaluable in helping
our startup succeed.
The stability and
performance of Cloud
Databases allow us to
scale in a cost-effective
manner and focus on
optimizing, scaling,
and enhancing our
Appreciation Engine
product.”
2.Private cloud security on the public cloud: By default, all Cloud
– Annabel Youens
Database instances are protected from public internet traffic and directly
CMO of The Appreciation Engine
accessible only through Rackspace internal ServiceNet network within
the same regional data center. For further control, Cloud Databases
customers can specify a host parameter when creating or modifying a user to restrict
access from designated hosts only. Additionally, an SSL certificate is installed on every
Cloud Database instance.
3.High availability with true master-slave replication: Network RAID provides
synchronous replication of database volumes with automatic failover and load balancing
across available storage clusters. Cloud Databases also features master-slave replication
and redundant storage, both of which can be useful when the source database
instance becomes unavailable. In that scenario, the replica can immediately act as the
new source database instance and ensure that the application has minimal downtime.
MySQL connected
to SAN storage
with built-in data
replication.
Rackspace Cloud Databases | Page 7
5.Cloud Databases vs. Unmanaged Cloud
For organizations needing a high-performance, high-availability method of hosting
a relational database in the cloud, there are few offerings that provide the depth of
features, security, flexibility and scalability of Cloud Databases. That said, one of the key
differentiators between Cloud Databases and alternative solutions is the value of leveraging
a fully managed service versus unmanaged hosting. The chart below illustrates the
differences between the two across seven important dimensions:
Unmanaged Hosting
Implementation
• Manual configuration of storage,
networking, security, monitoring, and
more
• Manual testing and optimization, with
a trade-off between timely deployment
and future scalability
Limited deployment flexibility (i.e., only
public cloud or only dedicated servers)
Rackspace Cloud Databases
• Rackspace handles configuration and
deployment
• On-demand databases pre-optimized for
relational databases
Multiple deployment options architected
specifically for MySQL, Percona and MariaDB:
• Public cloud (Cloud Databases)
Deployment
Options
• Private cloud based on Trove
• Bare metal (Managed Databases)
• Hybrid cloud with RackConnect
Maintenance
and Monitoring
Customer must allocate significant DBA
resources to monitor performance,
maintenance, patching, etc.
Rackspace experts proactively monitor
the network, server and database for
connections, lag, status of replicas, size,
number of queries, etc., 24x7x365
DBA Expertise
Customer must staff and retain increasingly
large number of DBAs as the business scales
Rackspace DBAs and engineers are available
to help with tasks such as replication,
backups, indexing and query optimization
Performance
• Lower performance on generic virtualized
servers, which are not optimized for
high-I/O database workloads
Consistent database performance on
an infrastructure configured and tuned
specifically to make MySQL databases run as
fast as possible
• Noisy neighbor problems on public cloud
create inconsistency in performance
Availability
“High availability” actually means creating
a redundant, idle copy (that the user has to
pay for), rather than a true replica that can
be used to scale read workloads
Customers benefit from true master-slave
replication and redundant storage
Data Portability
Expensive proprietary technologies and risk
of vendor lock-in prohibit data portability
Infrastructure built on OpenStack®; database
powered by MySQL ensures data portability
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6.Cloud Databases Use Cases
Cloud Databases has many unique use cases, but five of the most common are:
• Application back-end WordPress
• Application back-end ecommerce
• Web application development
• High-traffic websites
• Gaming back-end
APPLICATION BACK-END WORDPRESS
For enterprise customers who might need to manage thousands (or even millions) of
pages of customer data and content, Cloud Databases is an ideal solution. This service
can help organizations spin up affordable databases on demand and in real time and
easily store sites, settings and code in an environment that’s stable and secure. That
availability and flexibility offer businesses a huge improvement over previous methods
of building dedicated equipment, installing SQL, and then watching costs skyrocket.
APPLICATION BACK-END ECOMMERCE
In environments like ecommerce that experience cyclical demand and require consistent
performance, Cloud Databases can save significant time and resources, and improve
overall customer experience. During peak times, such as the holiday season, Cloud
Databases customers can easily and quickly scale database capacity. During slower
times, those same customers can scale back usage and save money, thanks to Cloud
Databases’ tiered pricing model.
WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
Companies building new applications must be able to keep their DBAs focused on
innovation and optimization of the database layer for new apps or features, rather
than simply maintaining existing databases. Cloud Databases empowers companies
to make that happen by delivering a fully managed solution for MySQL and popular
MySQL variants. This allows DBAs to invest their time and energy in innovative app
development, rather than time-consuming database infrastructure management.
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HIGH-TRAFFIC WEBSITES
The significant strain that high-traffic websites — popular media sites or blogs, or
web-based software products — put on their databases makes scalability, speed and
always-on performance critical. During peak times, a high-traffic website’s relational
database must be able to flexibly scale alongside those spikes in traffic in order to deliver
the experience its visitors expect. Cloud Databases is specifically tailored to deliver this
fast, predictable performance for high I/O MySQL database workloads, partly because
pre-optimized Cloud Database instances come preconfigured for peak performance.
Customers can also further optimize for specific workloads using the service’s CLI and API.
GAMING BACK-END
Traditionally, game developers have struggled with using relational databases as back-end
infrastructures because of the inability to efficiently store heavily structured data at load.
To perform optimally in this environment, relational databases needed to be highly flexible
and scalable, with DBAs on hand to provide immediate guidance as the game grows.
However, relational databases have traditionally been time-consuming.
With Cloud Databases, game developers can deploy MySQL databases in minutes. Add
in Fanatical Support — reducing the need to hire large teams of DBAs — and Cloud
Databases forms an ideal solution for gaming back-end infrastructure.
7.Conclusion
Nearly 10 years ago, global research firm Gartner reported that 80 percent of enterprise
IT budgets were spent on maintenance rather than adding new value to the organization.1
The good news? That number has gone down. The bad news? According to consulting
firm CEB, 57 percent of IT spending still goes toward maintenance activities.2
Rackspace Cloud Databases is explicitly designed to cut some of those costs and ease the
burden on IT departments to manage mission-critical relational database infrastructure.
This allows CIOs and their teams to spend more time strategizing ways to help the
business succeed, and less time ensuring that their databases are secure, reliable, scalable
and performance-optimized.
References:
1. Gartner, “Eight of Ten Dollars Enterprises Spend on IT is ‘Dead Money’”; October 2006
http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/497088
2. CEB, “How CIOs Will Spend Their Time and Money in 2015”; October 2014
https://www.executiveboard.com/blogs/results-from-the-it-budget-benchmark-2014-2015/
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About Rackspace
Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX) is the #1 managed cloud company. Its technical expertise and Fanatical Support®
allow companies to tap the power of the cloud without the pain of hiring experts in dozens of complex
technologies. Rackspace is also the leader in hybrid cloud, giving each customer the best fit for its unique
needs — whether on single- or multi-tenant servers, or a combination of those platforms. Rackspace is the
founder of OpenStack®, the open-source operating system for the cloud. Based in San Antonio, Rackspace
serves more than 300,000 business customers from data centers on four continents.
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