EDB unleashes BigAnimal in the cloud

One of the first PostgreSQL providers is now releasing a full-blown database-as-a-service.
Written by Tony Baer (dbInsight), Contributor

This has become the year during which database providers, who were cautious about the cloud, are finally diving into deep bore to deliver fully managed services. EDB, a.k.a. EnterpriseDB, is becoming a party animal with Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS). Believe it or not, this staid Boston area company is branding their new service BigAnimal. The company is making the announcement today at Microsoft Ignite.

EDB is initially making BigAnimal available on Microsoft Azure, where it can be procured via the Azure marketplace. We expect that over the next year, BigAnimal will also come to AWS and Google Cloud.

With BigAnimal, EDB will support the familiar shared responsibility model for managed DBaaS services. The customer will be responsible for everything from the schema on up to the application layer and security, while EDB handles the infrastructure side: provisioning, hardware instances, software patching, and updating.

Obviously, EDB is not the first to offer PostgreSQL as a managed DBaaS in the cloud. So how does it differentiate from what's already preceded it? It pays to look at the operational and use cases differences.

First, BigAnimal is designed for a sweet spot of PostgreSQL use cases: centralized online transaction processing (OLTP). Secondly, it is designed for how EDB customers currently run their databases as their own single tenants; customers will not share processing nodes in the cloud.

Pricing will mostly be the same as on-premises; it will be per compute core, and customers will be able to bring their own licenses for term-based agreements. As this is the cloud, where deployments can be ephemeral, there will be some additional options -- customers can instead opt for on-demand and/or pay-as-you-go pricing.

The reason the pricing structure is so simple -- and so similar to on-premises -- is that EDB BigAnimal customers will still have to arrange everything else with the cloud provider: storage and VPCs. That's very much akin to how another latecomer to DBaaS, Vertica, is approaching it with Accelerator.

The appeal of the bring your own VPC approach is that both EDB and Vertica can state that they are not trying to push compute onto their customers. Therefore, their cloud services won't feature any markup for compute beyond what they are already paying to the cloud provider. It also means that customers can procure BigAnimal (or Vertica Accelerator) as part of existing master agreements with the cloud provider. They simply order BigAnimal from the marketplace.

In actuality, these bring-you-own-VPC strategies are also baby steps, designed to enable existing customers to lift and shift existing workloads.

As we noted above, BigAnimal lives in a big tent, at least where it comes to PostgreSQL. You've got vanilla PostgreSQL services from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, then there are the wide variety of specialized services for hyperscale, sharded, distributed multimaster, and analytics. As we noted a few years back, the variety is due to the incredibly permissive open source license for PostgreSQL that only requires safe harbor for the project leader, UC Berkeley. So it's a vibrant ecosystem where forks are encouraged.

EDB's place in all of this is Oracle database compatibility; that's been their calling card since the company launched back in 2005. They have always supported Oracle SQL syntax, datatypes, triggers, and native stored procedures.

BigAnimal is not EDB's first cloud service. They previously offered the equivalent of a hosted experience where the customer would have to handle all of the hard work of provisioning and failover. At least BigAnimal now puts that under the hood. Going forward, we would like to see EDB widen the target audience with lower cost multitenant and serverless options that would, out of necessity, require EDB to have its own VPC.

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