Last week we told you about the huge milestone we reached with the launch of the Rackspace open cloud into production. It was a great week and you may have seen what industry folks are saying, including GigaOm, Wired and ZDNet, among others. Today, I wanted to expand a little bit more on Cloud Databases, which was released in Unlimited Availability (General Availability) as part of the Rackspace open cloud.
CLOUD DATABASES PERFORMANCE AND CONTAINER VIRTUALIZATION
From the beginning, our focus here in the Cloud Databases team has been to answer the two most common questions from our customers and prospects: “How can you help me reduce latency for my users?” or “How can you help me increase transactions per second in my app?”
As you know, there are a number of factors outside of the database model and the application itself that contribute to how a database service performs, from the design of the storage, the network, the virtualization approach, etc.
One distinctive factor of Rackspace’s Cloud Databases service is our container-based architecture. We wanted to avoid designs based on hardware virtualization, which imposes large penalties on the performance of a database engine. Take a look at the article “Rackspace Cloud Databases and Container-based Virtualization” where we describe the benefits of containers over traditional hardware virtualization, especially as it relates to relational databases.
EASE OF MANAGEMENT WITH THE NEW CLOUD CONTROL PANEL
I don't have to tell you that being a DBA or an application developer is demanding. There is always more work than time. Users are always asking for new projects to start or new requirements to add to the backlog and build into the app. We want to make it really easy to provision and to manage your database.
In the article “Using Cloud Databases in the Cloud Control Panel,” we walk you through the process of setting up a Cloud Database and, as a bonus, you get to experience our brand new Cloud Control Panel. You will also find a small PHP sample to show you how to connect to your app. You will notice that connecting to your Cloud Database is just like connecting to your current MySQL database. See the snippet below.
You don't have to do anything "special" or learn a new way of doing things. It just works.
CLOUD SITES AND CLOUD DATABASES
We know that many of you Cloud Sites developers and designers out there like to spend your time tweaking your website for your users, rather than managing your database. We also think that a Cloud Site backed by a Cloud Database is a good way to improve the performance over your current shared database, particularly as your site gets more popular. As you saw in the article above, connecting to a Cloud Databases from your site is just like connecting to any other database. If you are creating a new site in the current version of Control Panel, just select “Off” in the “Databases” section when creating a new site. This will skip the creation of a shared database for your site.
Then, just follow the instructions in the article mentioned above to guide you in the process of creating your Cloud Database and connecting your site to it. Or if you are in a hurry, then just do the following:
- Create your Cloud Database
- Grab the sample PHP file (which is the same one used in the article)
- Tweak the hostname, database, user and password in the file to connect to your actual database
- Drop the modified file in your /cgi-bin folder of your site
- Hit the page on your browser. You should be able to run the simple example connecting to Cloud Databases
The sample code is just a simple MySQL "calculator" where we use string concatenation to execute SELECT statements, so don't leave it sitting around in your production site. Use it to test the connectivity before you modify your real app and see how simple using a Cloud Database really is.
FLAVORS AND SUPPORT
The service launched with four different flavors: 0.5GB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB. You can see the pricing here. By the way, we will release larger flavors very soon, so come back and check them out. Something you want to pay attention to when selecting your flavor is that you don’t have to share that memory with the operating system. Your MySQL instance will get close to the whole amount of memory of the container. This is because, unlike other cloud vendors, we don’t reserve memory for the operating system from your allocation.
As with any service we provide, you get the support of an army of "Rackers," the Rackspace employees who are ready to make sure your application is launched successfully and who can help assist you with its maintenance. Some of the tasks that we help you with (which are included with the service as part of what we call Core Cloud Accounts) are:
SUPPORT FOR CORE ACCOUNTS
- Chat, phone and ticket support available 24x7x365
- Authentication troubleshooting and verification
- Initial troubleshooting where we help review your API requests and response details
- Basic guidance for what API calls to use
- Basic guidance for the steps needed to set up and manage Cloud Databases via Control Panel
- Verification of Cloud Databases infrastructure availability
- Provide you with documentation
- Verify and confirm details of your instance
- Help you with “best effort” to database instances that you root-enable
Now, if you are a Managed Service Level account, you will receive an extra level of assistance for your databases. Some of the extra benefits you get are:
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR ACCOUNTS WITH A MANAGED SERVICE LEVEL
- Assistance with instance provisioning and management
- Assistance moving your databases and tables to Cloud Databases
- Assistance with database and user provisioning
- Assistance with data backup and restores
- Basic optimization of your database
HOW WE DID IT
Here in the Cloud Databases team we are really proud of our work, and wanted to tell you a little more about what we built. Here are a few videos from us.
- Avoiding Lock-In
- Container-Based Virtualization
- Storage Reliability
- Addressing The Multi-Tenant Problem
- Fanatical Support
Take a look and keep checking back for new videos from the team which we will release in the “Tech Details” page of the Cloud Databases site.
CLOUD DATABASES IS FREE UNTIL SEPTEMBER 4!
Some of you have been testing the waters already and are enjoying a free Cloud Database. If you are not one of those lucky ones, here is another chance: Cloud Databases will remain free until September 4. This means you have a few more weeks left to get your account, create your database, move your data and start testing your app.
For more information, check out how Rackspace customer SnapPages is using Rackspace Cloud Databases.