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Why We’re Building EDB Cloud

Benjamin Anderson8/27/2021
Company newsCloud

Recently, we announced the preview launch of EDB Cloud - the first fully-managed cloud database service with industry-leading Oracle database compatibility and backed by a world-class team of PostgreSQL experts, all packaged up and running in your Microsoft Azure account. EDB Cloud supports both PostgreSQL and EDB Postgres Advanced Server and is designed with the needs of enterprises in mind.

Now, you might be asking “So what?” Or, “Why now?” This post will go a bit deeper and explain why we’re building EDB Cloud, and why we think it matters.

 

Go with the customers

Throughout EDB’s history we’ve been continually focused on customers’ needs. Over time, this has run the gamut from old-school bare metal machines in on-premises data centers and colocation spaces, to early virtual machine deployments, to the cloud, and to containerization. Each step in this evolution has come with its own opportunities and challenges, and it’s been EDB’s mission to meet customers where they are - taking advantage of opportunities and overcoming the challenges.

Fully managed database-as-a-service products are perhaps the biggest shift in this evolution. In some ways, with a managed database service your database is no longer “yours” - in exchange for having a third party manage your database, you give up control over how that database is configured and operates.

This is a big deal: many of EDB’s customers are advanced users of their databases and rely on extremely high performance, sophisticated behaviors, and advanced configurations to make their businesses run. For many of them, existing managed database services just aren’t an option - they’re too restrictive. For others, perhaps they’re willing to make compromises, but they’d really prefer not to have mundane technical problems impact their business decisions.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we’re still in the early days of cloud migrations. Cloud database service usage has exploded over the past few years, but there is still a vast array of on-premises databases that haven’t yet made the leap. Many of these databases are Oracle-based, and support for Oracle in major managed database services is limited at best; others have more stringent high availability requirements than current database services are prepared to meet. We need innovation in cloud database services to get these databases and the applications they support to the cloud.

PostgreSQL is an open source relational database. Open source technology does not just refer to being free; it means having access to the actual source code of what’s happening inside of technology. It’s about having a community of collaborative people with a singular goal of evolving and improving the technology. Open source databases, like PostgreSQL, bring a new level of flexibility, unlike traditional software companies. 

 

Elevating PostgreSQL in the cloud

We’re building EDB Cloud to solve these problems. EDB is a database company to the core; we know Postgres, and we think we have the talent and the tech to bring something new to the table in database-as-a-service. I like to frame our core approach along three lines: expertise in Postgres, compatibility with Oracle, and “continuous” availability. Let’s dive in to each of these:

 

Real Postgres expertise, applied

This one is easy - EDB has a decent claim to being the Postgres company in 2021: a significant fraction of all open-source Postgres development comes from EDB employees, and we employ Postgres fanatics across the board to work on tooling, automation, support, and consulting. As someone who has only worked at EDB for less than a year, I’m regularly amazed at the depth and breadth of Postgres expertise here.

Expertise alone doesn’t make a great product, though - what matters is applying that expertise! With EDB Cloud, we’re committed to supporting customers on the latest and greatest Postgres versions, providing break-fix support assurance, and offering more technical control than can be had with other cloud Postgres services. On top of that, we’re layering on our support and professional services offerings such as Cloud DBA to raise the bar in terms of access to expertise. And finally, we’re taking what we’re learning back into the community to help make Postgres even more rock solid, reliable, and manageable than it already is.

The impact of EDB’s Postgres culture on the EDB Cloud product is difficult to overstate. We think that databases are too important and too complicated to be left in the hands of generalists, and we’re here to make that possible in a managed cloud service.

 

Oracle-compatible PostgreSQL

It’s 2021, and there are two ways to get an Oracle-compatible database in a managed service on a major cloud: buy AWS’s Oracle RDS - with all of the licensing complexity that comes with it - or buy it from Oracle Cloud. Azure and GCP customers are basically out of luck.

EDB is no stranger to supporting sophisticated migrations away from Oracle. Helping customers migrate from Oracle to Postgres has been our bread and butter for years. With EDB Cloud, we’re taking the native Oracle compatibility built in to EDB Postgres Advanced Server to a fully-managed service, allowing customers to take their Oracle databases straight to a cloud managed service without a painful multi-stage migration process. The EDB Cloud Preview is Azure-only, but support for the other major clouds is coming soon.

 

Always-On Postgres

Postgres’ tried-and-true streaming replication implementation is at the heart of many mission-critical applications. It’s solid, reliable, and flexible enough to solve a lot of high availability problems. Most of the major Postgres database-as-a-service offerings have it at the core of their availability architecture.

Streaming replication is somewhat limited, though, when it comes to more sophisticated high availability topologies. Failure detection and replica promotion times are long - even AWS’s Aurora suggests that “most failovers complete in 120 seconds” - which limits availability targets of most cloud services to 99.99% and excludes a wide range of applications that might otherwise be a good fit for the cloud. High availability based on streaming replication simply isn’t an option for systems that need the availability of, for example, Oracle RAC.

EDB’s BDR is a logical replication based solution that aims to solve these problems, and EDB Cloud is bringing it to a fully managed database-as-a-service. With BDR-based managed Postgres, customers will be able to support the needs of more stringent applications by taking advantage of BDR’s capabilities in active / active replication and fast failover. These capabilities are unmatched in open-source relational database services today and open up new possibilities for bringing mission-critical applications to fully managed cloud services.

 

EDB Cloud

The cloud is complicated, and databases in the cloud are more complicated. Your most demanding applications need a cloud Postgres service that’s purpose-built for the requirements of the most stringent enterprise applications. With EDB Cloud, we’re working to bring our expertise and technology to bear to solve these problems and aid our customers in their cloud journey.

Learn more about the EDB Cloud preview.
 

Benjamin Anderson has spent the past ten years building and running database services in the cloud. He is currently working on the future of PostgreSQL as CTO for Cloud at EDB; in previous lives he served as chief architect of IBM's Cloud Databases organization, built an SRE practice at Cloudant, an ...