Percona takes first steps toward hybrid cloud

After releasing Kubernetes operators for some of its open source databases, Percona is now taking the next step delivering fleshed-out implementations of its databases in cloud-native form. We view it as a steppingstone.

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Percona, which has made a business of smoothing off the rough edges of open source with a business that provides support for open source databases, is now going the next mile in dipping its toes into database-as-a-service (DBaaS). At its annual Percona Live event this week, Percona is unveiling cloud-native implementations of MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.

The company is announcing the preview of the three databases, based on the Kubernetes operators that it has been developing for them. The announced previews take the platforms the next step into a more fully-formed database-as-a-service implementation. It means that customers do not have to manually build their own Kubernetes implementations of the Percona-supported open source databases.

To clarify, the preview provides customers the operational simplicity of a cloud-based database as a service; it is not a Percona-operated DBaaS where you go into a public cloud, input a credit card number, and then have Percona provision servers and attend to all the housekeeping. Instead, it is a hybrid cloud offering where Percona delivers the simplified cloud control plane of a DBaaS. In other words, it is not a vendor-delivered DBaaS, but instead, a DBaaS-like experience where you get a simplified control plane and some housekeeping services.

Those housekeeping services include backup, recovery, and patching that is managed through the Percona Monitoring and Management. For Percona, those services aren't new; it already offers them to customers. But here, they are packaged on a cloud-native implementation of the open source databases they support.

As we noted previously, Percona has built its business on, in essence, herding cats. Their core business is supporting numerous versions of open source MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB databases. In some cases, it also fills gaps in areas such as security, backups and recovery with its own enhanced open source distros.

In effect, this is Percona's first stab at a hybrid cloud platform. They are packaged to run on any Kubernetes cluster, which could be one that the customer developers themselves, or in a public cloud (e.g., on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service; Azure Kubernetes Service, Google Kubernetes Engine), or on hybrid platforms such as Red Hat OpenShift or Google Cloud Anthos.

The driver for all this is that many customers are looking to simplify their operations. In the cloud, deployment, virtualization, operations management, and patching are often done through common tooling and through a so-called "single pane of glass." With containers that are orchestrated using Kubernetes, the workflows for deployment and scaling are similarly simplified. And more importantly, Kubernetes-based implementations are portable, meaning the databases can be run anywhere there is a Kubernetes cluster.

In the initial preview, customers will be on the hook for configuring and deploying the Kubernetes-based implementations of the Percona-supported platforms. But when the offering gets to final release, Percona will offer white glove services for helping customers through the installation, and with the software updating and patching. Percona at this point does not have any plans for offering a fully managed service where the customer goes on a public cloud, picks the service out of a marketplace, pays with a credit card, and then the system gets automatically deployed. But as Percona and its customers get through the learning curve with the new Kubernetes-based implementation, that's a step we would like the company to take.