Use it free - Xeround offers Database as a Service

Xeround offers a free subscription to a MySQL-based database as a service limited offering. Will this move popularize database as a service offerings? The simple answer is yes.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Xeround has take the bold move of offering Xeround FREE, a free, lifetime subscription to its MySQL database as a service limited offering.  The company hopes this will encourage uses of MySQL databases to move some or all their workloads into the cloud.

What's the catch?

Xeround FREE includes two built-in replicas to provide high avilability, a round-robin DNS implementation to assure high prformance and access to Xeround's API. The subscriber doesn't need to install software or manage virtual systems. The goal is to be a drop-in replacement for existing MySQL implementations.

The catch is that the FREE has the following constraints:

  • MySQL is hosted in a shared environment on either Amazon' EC2-US data center or via the Heroku platform. The company has plans to support additional regions and cloud service providers in the future.
  • The database is allowed only five connections
  • The database is limited to managing up to 10 MB databases
  • Throughput is limited to 1 MB/sec

What's the come on?

Xeround is offering Xeround FREE with the expectation that it will be much like a certain snack food that advertises "you can't eat only one." The company is offering two other products Xeroud BASIC and Xeround PRO.

Here's how Xeround positions these database as a service offerings:

  • Xeround BASIC — this service supports databases up to 250 MB in size, in a shared environment, up to 20 connections, up to 4 MB/sec throughput, Xeround's API is available for development, and both a volume pricing and service level guarantee
  • Xeround PRO — this service supports databases up to 50 GB in size, in a dedicated environment, up to 2,400 connections, no limits on throughput, Xeround's API is available for development, autoscaling to better support dynamic workloads, and both a volume pricing and service level guarantee

Snapshot analysis

Xeround is expanding upon the traditional open-source pricing model and adding a new wrinkle.

In the past, suppliers who base their offerings upon open source software and community support, have made the open source edition freely available. A commercial edition offering better support, documentation and some additional capabilities was made available for a fee. The wrinkle Xeround is offering is that they've arranged a sweet deal with several cloud service providers to host databases built on their products.

What's interesting is Xeround's database as a service offerings are not limited by basic database capabilities, service level agreements, or redundancy for higher performance and availability. Xeround has chosen different plains of segmentation. The company is limiting their offerings by:

  • the size of the database
  • the number of connections
  • the allowed levels of throughput
  • whether the database is hosted on a shared or a dedicated system
  • types of support availabile

While it isn't clear if this approach will draw MySQL users to a cloud-based service offering, it is very clever and attractive. Developers and startups can begin using Xeround's service offering at no charge. As their needs increase, Xeround has expanded offerings for them to consider.

Medium and Large organizations are likely to use Xeround FREE as a proof of concept and move to one of the other offerings that better fit their needs. All of the potential users of database as a service offering will still need to be mindful of issues common to all cloud-based services, however. It would be wise to consider security and discuss encryption with Xeround's representatives. It would also be wise to consider issues created by regulatory compliance.

Xeround's service offerings certainly desire consideration as they just might be a wonderful way for an organization to move smoothly from an on-premise database implementation to an of-premise, cloud-based environment.

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