[AUDIO BLOG] The Builders: "The True Cost of Cloud Databases" with Tom Rieger

November 03, 2023

Thanks for tuning into EDB’s audio blog series, The Builders, where business and tech thought leaders weigh in on top database industry trends and insights. 

In this episode, EDB Senior Sales Engineer Tom Rieger discusses the economics and challenges of cloud computing, emphasizing the need to balance performance and costs when migrating to the cloud. He addresses issues like choosing the right computing environments and understanding the fine print and hidden costs associated with cloud services.


In my 35 years of data processing, I've found that the concept of the cloud presents a compelling opportunity for the world. Regardless of an organization's size, it offers the potential to work with unprecedented speed and innovation.

With this opportunity, there are associated costs. As my dear old mother used to say, "Nothing is free," and this holds true in the cloud. Whether it's AWS, Azure, or Google, it's crucial to be mindful of how the new economics of cloud computing impact not only technical aspects like performance and uptime but also financial outcomes.

In the past, as we transitioned from mainframes to open systems, we aimed to achieve double or triple the platform's capabilities while spending two to three times less. We consistently sought to do more for one-third of the price.

Now, as we transition from on-premises to the cloud, we carry a similar mindset. We aspire to achieve more in terms of time-to-market, performance, scaling, user concurrency while spending less.

However, the cloud introduces a multitude of variables, making the calculations complex. Therefore, at Edb, we focus on properly sizing the cloud environment, aiming to find a scientific method to determine what defines "good" in this context.

We employ tools like HammerDB, a benchmark kit that simplifies running the TPC-C benchmark across various database workloads in platforms such as Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL. It provides a single essential metric: transactions per minute.

But the cloud introduces complexity, particularly in choosing computing resources and storage. There's a plethora of choices, and the cloud vendors offer numerous options, making it challenging to identify the best components. We need to consider factors like throughput, IOPS, and more.

Cloud storage can be perplexing, with terms like "Max," "up to," "bursts," and various offerings from different providers. Clear pricing and effective performance optimization can be elusive. When not tuned correctly, one can spend significant amounts of money without gaining commensurate value.

To make matters more intricate, database service offerings often limit users' ability to fine-tune their databases. The lack of control over performance parameters, I/O subsystems, and other critical aspects can hinder optimization.

Our goal is to understand and evaluate the economics of the cloud in terms of the cost of various cloud components. We aim to find the balance between performance and cost. To achieve this balance, we focus on cost per workload and transactions per minute, seeking to minimize these values.

Additionally, we strive to make the process more accessible without sacrificing control. Achieving this balance involves finding ways to automate processes, like benchmarking and tuning. While making things easier, we don't want to take away your ability to optimize for your specific workload.

Unfortunately, some cloud vendors do not offer the most price-performant components or flexible pricing options. This lack of transparency and control can lead to less efficient cloud usage.

Our team at Edb is dedicated to addressing these challenges and helping organizations derive consistent value from the cloud. We aim to provide you with control over your cloud environment while ensuring you have access to the best components available.

Feel free to reach out to me at tom.rieger@enterprise.db.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm the only Tom Rieger in Minnesota, and I'm always open to having conversations on this topic.

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