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The Benefits of a Cloud Database

As cloud services mature and reduce in cost, moving your database to the cloud can offer flexible, affordable, and scalable database management. Your team’s applications rely upon a robust and efficient connection to a database. A functional, flexible, and secure database is the foundation onto which engaging applications can be built.


Considerations for moving your database to the cloud

What is your current database hosting infrastructure?

Whether your business runs traditional, relational databases or has embraced NoSQL databases, it's essential to match your hosting environment to the right cloud infrastructure. Today, that often means using DBaaS (Database-as-a-Service). You can think of DBaaS as you would other SaaS applications, as their management and flexibility are similar.

The important factor is to match your cloud server provider to your business’s precise needs. Hosting services should be efficient and secure to migrate to and offer a flexible dynamic environment for your applications. Think about the applications your business is building today and the applications you intend to develop in the future. Your hosting environment should have the capacity and features to match these needs.

Are you expanding the capabilities of the applications you are creating?

One of the advantages of cloud databases is their scalability. As your applications grow in size and complexity, a cloud database can grow along with it. NoSQL databases specifically are known for their ability to handle rapid expansion and organization of complex data. Hosting these databases in the cloud lifts the limits on your app’s growth. A NoSQL cloud database such as MongoDB Atlas flawlessly supports scaling as your application changes and grows.

Is 24/7 availability essential for your business’s applications?

Cloud databases, such as MongoDB Atlas, have built-in back-up and recovery, ensuring your database is 'always on.' If something should go wrong, built-in back-ups help eliminate the risk of data-loss. Further, moving to a cloud database removes the risk of downtime issues and offers steady and reliable connectivity for each application which rely upon a constant connection to the databases that support them

Does your business build applications that require large datasets to operate efficiently?

Traditional databases are often limited by their capacity to ingest large quantities of information. Using a cloud database removes the issues of dealing with large datasets by giving you access to data storage that expands to meet your needs.

Are you moving other aspects of your business to the cloud?

The digitization of business processes is often accompanied by adopting more cloud-based services. Placing your application, or your enterprise's need for more efficient database management within the context of a more comprehensive cloud strategy, can mean substantial efficiency gains — for your applications and for your wider business.

What are the benefits of using a cloud database?

Transitioning from your company's current database infrastructure — typically, using on-site servers running VMs (Virtual Machines) ⁠— to a fully-managed NoSQL database hosted in the cloud carries several benefits worth considering.

Overall cost

The cost of adopting cloud databases can be considerably less than expanding your existing on-site server capability. The reduced maintenance costs with a typical DBaaS deployment can also cut administrative costs substantially. As most cloud services are pay-as-you-go, your costs will only increase if you expand or require additional services.

Flexible solutions

Moving your database solutions to the cloud can release your business from the demands and costs of managing your own services. Cloud databases, in particular, are massively efficient, as they have no inherent restrictions on their ability to expand. And as cloud service providers evolve their services, your business can take instant advantage of these improvements, making both scaling and managing your database easier.

Mobile access

As your business expands its mobile teams, the ability of cloud platforms to be accessed and used from a range of remote devices can be a huge advantage. Applications can be built with geographically dispersed teams at no loss to efficiency or security.

Disaster recovery

Applications require reliable connections to the databases that power them. With built-in redundancy and 24/7 uptime the norm, cloud databases offer a reliable platform for application development. Today's robust cloud infrastructures are supported by database experts to ensure that disaster recovery is measured in minutes or hours, not days as is typical with on-site servers.

Safe and secure

In the past, moving sensitive data to a cloud platform outside of your business's firewall could be risky. Today, however, the cloud offers comprehensive security often more robust than that of on-site servers. Adopting DBaaS infrastructures delivers world-class security you can rely on.

What are the disadvantages of using a cloud database?

While cloud-based databases offer a series of advantages for many, there can be some challenges. Here are some to consider when making the decision to move to the cloud.

Vendor lock-In

Once your business has chosen a cloud service provider, it can be complicated to move your infrastructure to a different cloud service. Pay close attention to how your cloud service is structured, and particularly to any proprietary applications, the cloud platform relies on to operate in case you want to make changes in the future.

A key advantage of using MongoDB Atlas is the versatility it offers. MongoDB can be used with any of the leading cloud service providers. If your business does move to another cloud service, MongoDB can easily move with you. In addition, if your business wishes to move back to an on-prem deployment, MongoDB includes this functionality. With MongoDB, vendor lock-in disappears.

Cost concerns

The initial cost of hosting services for your database deployments can be lower than expanding your business's existing servers. But as your service needs grow, costs can rise – sometimes quite sharply. One of the powerful aspects of cloud hosting your databases is the ability for your business to start with just the services it needs, but don't overprovision these needs as this could mean higher costs.

System vulnerabilities

The general security of the cloud infrastructures available from leading vendors is strong. But no system is entirely immune to attack. Hosting sensitive information online always generates the possibility of a data breach, but the risks can be mitigated, by following best practices and with a detailed cloud security policy communicated to all application developers. We know that most security breaches tend to stem from human error.

Connection downtime

Service-level agreements (SLAs) from the leading cloud service providers will detail their expected downtime. In order to function, cloud services rely on robust connections to the internet, which are sometimes out of the control of the cloud service provider. In these instances, it makes sense to consider spreading the risk of failed connections across multiple sites.

Even if an SLA states, “99.9% uptime,” the 0.1% downtime can mean 45 minutes a month when your applications will not have database access.

MongoDB Atlas Cloud Database

MongoDB Atlas, part of MongoDB’s broader Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) development platform, is a powerful and compelling alternative to managing your own NoSQL, or traditional, database, or to using a cloud provider-specific managed offering. Unlike other services, MongoDB Atlas offers fully managed database services through your choice of cloud provider, including AWS, Azure, and GCP.

Fully-managed database services handle the complexities of maintaining a consistently available, high-performance data cluster that developers can access as a single, globally available resource.

Related Resources

What is a cloud database?
Free cloud database with MongoDB
What is cloud computing?
What is multicloud?

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