What is a cloud database?


A cloud database is a database service built and run in a cloud platform. A cloud database’s structure and purpose is not much different to a traditional local database. However, the core difference of where the database resides (on cloud versus on-premises) can bring some striking competitive advantages, which attract businesses to cloud adoption.


One key attractive offer of cloud databases is a database as a service (DBaaS). DBaaS is a model that provides a database as a ready-to-use service, which users can quickly deploy and has access to a database without the need for infrastructure investment and setup. The aspects of administration and maintenance can be taken care of by the service provider so the focus of users is on using it and utilizing it for their maximum returns.


Some key players in the industry


Cloud databases and DBaaS are undoubtedly offered by cloud providers. Some prominent players in the market are Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, IBM. Most providers offer support for both relational databases (SQL) and nonrelational databases (NoSQL). Businesses should research carefully about each provider offer when they select one.



Some key features and competitive advantages of a cloud database


The core of a database is no difference since, for example, a SQL Server database works the same on-premises and on the cloud. Database users and admins still use the same knowledge and skills to handle the database. However, cloud database providers generally offer some key features and benefits as below.


  • The database is on the cloud.
  • It’s quick and easy to set a database up to use.
  • It’s cost effective since you can choose your database tier and pay for what you use.
  • Businesses no longer have to buy dedicated hardware upfront.
  • Can be managed by the user or offered as a service and managed by a provider
  • Support SQL (including MySQL) or NoSQL databases
  • Accessed through a web interface or vendor-provided API



Cloud Database vs Local Database

CriteriaCloud DatabaseLocal Database

Residence On the cloud (it can be either a private or public cloud) On-Premises (Typically, businesses’ own local server and machines.)
Access Via the Internet Mostly local network (LAN)
Investment Mostly fee-based models. Users pay for what they use without investing in physical hardware and software. Businesses have to invest their own physical infrastructure, software to install and IT staff to set up from scratch.
Administration Control options: Organizations can opt for what they want, a traditional database on a virtual machine or a DBaaS.
Database admins still have full control over how to use their data.
Users have full control of their databases and the infrastructure they reside in.
Maintenance Businesses do not have to worry about cloud infrastructure.
With DBaaS, database admins can focus on using their data only, cloud providers commit to manage and operate the databases.
Similar to the administration, businesses have full control here. However, sometimes, these tasks can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
Speed It depends on the Internet. Speed is one big plus point of a local database as it lies locally and the access is over the intranet.
High Availability and Scalability Cloud providers often commit to nearly 100% availability of their services since their data servers are powerful with worldwide support.
It’s easy to migrate and replicate between data centers.
Also, scalability is one of the best selling points of cloud services since it’s so much easier to scale a cloud solution than an on-premise one. You can easily purchase new space and raise your database tier.
These aspects also depend on an enterprise’s investment in their infrastructure and their IT experts to build an appropriate database architecture.
Security With a remote database on cloud, your data is always backed up so, in case of a disaster, you should have a peace of mind that your backups are safe.
Also, cloud providers are often large enterprises who commit to necessary security compliances.
They also keep their hardware and software up-to-date for the newest digital threats.
Again, with full control, enterprises’ IT experts and database admins must stay sharp to implement crucial security setup and ensure their on-premises updated and ready for security threats.




With cloud technology growth, it’s undeniable that cloud databases are also attractive, however, the decision of choosing a database solution is still strongly up to your specific business needs. This article provides a brief overview of the two options so you can have an understanding of the pros and cons. For a more detailed assessment and solution, please contact us for consultancy.

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