Why Google Cloud is battling AWS, Azure, in the hot PostgreSQL market
As more companies move their data from legacy databases to open source databases in the cloud, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers fully managed and compatible Database as a Service (DBaaS) with PostgreSQL, dubbed AlloyDB, now in public preview and intended to tackle Amazon Aurora and Microsoft Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
By 2022, 75% of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform, with only 5% already being considered for repatriation to on-premises systems, according to Gartner. The trend is fueled by companies’ decision to use databases for analytics, Gartner said.
Additionally, according to Gartner, more than 50% of legacy databases are being transitioned to open source and more than 70% of new application development is happening on open source databases. Meanwhile, many companies choose PostgreSQL for their database management system.
Why are companies raiding PostgreSQL?
Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft have focused on PostgreSQL due to its growing popularity among other databases, analysts said.
“Postgres is unquestionably in the midst of a resurgence in interest and use. This is largely because it is an open source database with many potential vendors, and because it is a general-purpose database that has increasingly adapted to all kinds of workloads,” said Stephen O’Grady, principal analyst at RedMonk.
In addition, says Tony Baer, Director and Founder of dbInsight, there is also a large ecosystem of PostgreSQL-based databases leveraging the core technology and skill base that is impossible to ignore. positioning it as a standard enterprise-grade open source database. .
Other analysts believe that although PostgreSQL has not yet overtaken MySQL in popularity, Oracle has advantages over it.
“Comparing MySQL and PostgreSQL, enterprises prefer PostgreSQL’s transactional and analytical capabilities, expanded spatial data support, broader SQL support, improved security and governance, and expanded programming, generating more substantial growth,” said Noel Yuhanna, principal analyst at Forester.
According to data from the relational database knowledge platform db-engines.com, PostgreSQL has steadily increased in popularity and is currently the fourth most popular RDBMS (relational database management system). popular and the fourth most popular product cited among all the databases in their ranking.
The steady rise in popularity has forced hyperscalers to build database services based on PostgreSQL, said Doug Henschen, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
“In most cases, cloud providers invest resources in offering migration services that make it easier to migrate workloads to these Postgre-based services, and they also improve compatibility features with Oracle Database in particular. The availability of more services and improvements in compatibility with commercial databases has only encouraged more migrations and increased the popularity of PostgreSQL,” Henschen said.
Google recently added Oracle to PostgreSQL schema conversion and data replication capabilities to its database migration service.
Here is the difference between Google’s AlloyDB and CloudSQL
Google says its new AlloyDB, as a PostgreSQL-managed DBaaS, is aimed at “high-end databases,” unlike its existing CloudSQL PostgreSQL managed database service, which the company says is also experiencing a ” good” traction.
“We saw that there were certain gaps that we could and should fill, to really make sure that the most advanced databases could actually pass. And those are gaps in their areas of scale, availability, expanding use cases a bit beyond transactional to also support analytical workloads,” said Andi Gutmans, general manager of databases at Google Cloud.
AlloyDB leverages Google Cloud’s infrastructure capabilities in storage, compute and networking while combining them with Postgres compatibility, Gutmans said, adding that it offers faster performance and scalability than the existing CloudSQL for PostgreSQL service.
The storage layer is key to PostgreSQL performance
“We see that the key ingredient is the new storage layer that improves PostgreSQL’s performance,” said Yuhanna of Forrester.
“Unlike MySQL, which supports multiple storage engines, PostgreSQL has traditionally relied on only one storage engine. Although AlloyDB leverages a proprietary cloud-native storage layer, it offers 100% PostgreSQL compatibility, allowing existing PostgreSQL applications to migrate without application or database changes,” Yuhanna said, adding that he expects to see strong traction for the new service as enterprises expand their use of PostgreSQL.
Google has also added accelerators as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to managed DBaaS to ensure easy management with better performance, Gutmans said.
“We use machine learning and algorithms to take out a lot of the management issues that customers have had in the past with things like Postgres and do it for them. It’s things like self-VACUUM management, how we configured the instance for the best performance, configuration of storage and memory management, etc.,” Gutmans said. Auto-VACUUM refers to a process that cleans up redundant data.
AlloyDB also comes with an integration of the Vertex AI platform, a workbench designed for data scientists working on machine learning projects, and according to Gutmans, companies could “actually do real-time inference in the context of transactions”.
An example of such real-time inference, which Gartner calls augmented transactions, is enabling or invoking a fraud detection module in a transaction for a credit card entry for an expense.
In fact, many cloud database services are beginning to leverage machine learning to perform continuous closed-loop analysis for self-tuning and optimization, Constellation’s Henschen said, adding that the simplification of maintenance through self-tuning and optimization is not unique.
“But in the case of AlloyDB, it optimizes row and column storage simultaneously, so it can serve both transactional and analytical needs and doesn’t need to be tuned, as Google claims. , for one need or the other,” Henschen said. “This ‘cross-analytical’ performance also supports integration with Vertex AI. The benefit is high performance in scenarios like lending, risk, churn analysis, etc., where you’re trying to do business with customers in real time while simultaneously supporting in-depth data science-based analysis.”
Compatible with Postgre v. PostgreSQL
The new AlloyDB service for PostgreSQL from Google Cloud is a Postgres compatible service, which is different from a PostgreSQL database service like CloudSQL from GCP.
That means it’s designed to be different (faster, more manageable, reliable and scalable) than standard PostgreSQL RDMS while taking its core principles and semantics, the analysts said.
“There are many PostgreSQL-compatible databases that aren’t PostgreSQL, but they use all of that database’s SQL semantics to take advantage of the popularity and familiarity of how you program/query PostgreSQL,” said said Henschen.
It also means that developers can create or move applications built on PostgreSQL to this database.
The new service, which the company says is “100% compatible with Postgres,” supports more than 50 extensions from the Postgres ecosystem, Google’s Gutmans said.
Pricing and competition in the PostgreSQL market
Google says the new managed DBaaS offers better pricing performance than competitors because it changed its pricing strategy to exclude the onerous ingress/egress fees that most enterprises incur for managed database services.
Businesses will be charged on the compute, storage and other services they consume, Gutmans said, adding that it will make it easier to budget their expenses.
But the AlloyDB service for PostgreSQL will have strong competition from Amazon Aurora, Oracle Autonomous Databases and Oracle mySQL HeatWave, both from a speed/cost perspective, and for OLAP (online analytical processing) and OLTP (online transaction processing) . .
“I don’t think Aurora meets analytical requirements as broadly as AlloyDB, although it does integrate with SageMaker to support the same kind of real-time inference scenarios,” Henschen said. “In the meantime, Oracle is well known for promoting Oracle Database as a ‘universal database’ that can do it all, but note that it has separate Oracle Autonomous Database services that are tuned for transactional or warehouse/analytics,” Henschen said. , noting that there are no actual deployments of AlloyDB around the world yet.
Google’s move to launch the new managed DBaaS could be seen as a strategy to cover as much of the market as possible, RedMonk’s Grady said.
“Just as AWS offers both a standard vanilla Postgres and a proprietary Postgres-compatible alternative in Aurora, Google appears to cater to markets that value the standard of an open source database and those willing to sacrifice the fully open source database in return for a higher performance, Postgres-compatible database,” Grady said.
Amazon Aurora supports MySQL and PostgreSQL databases.
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