Removing the Drudgery of Managing Enterprise Databases Across Multiple Clouds

New database as a service increases control, convenience and cost benefits across hybrid and multicloud IT systems.

By Gene Knauer

By Gene Knauer February 24, 2021

Databases that take weeks to provision. Complex storage provisioning requiring multiple disk groups for different types of data. Intricate cloning and data refresh processes. These and other challenges have bogged down database administrators (DBAs) tasked with managing hundreds or thousands of database instances and copies of instances on-premise within enterprise organizations.

Overcoming the time, cost and complexities of database management was the impetus behind Nutanix Era. It was originally designed for the still-substantial number of on-premise enterprise database deployments. It now extends one-click, multi-database management features and governance across multiple public cloud services and on-premise data centers.

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“Databases should be simple,” said Bala Kuchibhotla, vice president and general manager of Nutanix Era and Critical Business Applications. 

“We shouldn’t need to worry about managing them or how they operate. They should be like utility services, easy to turn on and use when needed.”

With Era, Kuchibhotla wants to help database administrators create their own database cloud and provide cloud consumption experiences to internal consumers in their companies.

First, Simplify and Automate Database Management On-premise

Automation and simplification were the goals for the original Nutanix Era suite of DBaaS database management software. The solution provides a single dashboard with one-click simplicity and automation for the provisioning and lifecycle management of all major databases running on-premise within enterprises and across public cloud serves (i.e. AWS). That includes a single interface with support for Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and MariaDB, Postgres, and SAP HANA.

“The cost, time, and manpower savings from Era has made it a huge success,” said Bala Kuchibhotla, one of the product’s developers.

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“As a business within Nutanix, Era is growing almost 50% quarter over quarter. It’s changing the role of DBAs, automating and simplifying administrative tasks like provisioning and patching for their heterogeneous database estates. It allows them to spend more time on crafting applications instead of on lower-level operational tasks.”

"The time to provision a new database has been cut by 90%,” said Nimish Valia, head of the Center of Excellence, Strategic Technologies, at RBL Bank, where Era runs on the Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI).

Using Era, provisioning time at the bank shrank from weeks to minutes. Patching timeframes and downtime management also decreased significantly. The bank’s DBAs now create copies of multi-terabyte databases automatically and refresh them every day with consistent timing and performance.

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Valia also calls out the ability to create zero-byte clones, saving on storage, as another benefit of Era. 

“Our DBAs now spend just 30% of their time on user acceptance testing so they can focus more on strategic work,” Valia said. “With compute and storage resources and database copies available in an instant, time-to-market for new services has dropped from two-to-four days to four-to-six hours."  

Adding Management Across Clouds and On-premise Clusters

“There’s a groundswell of companies choosing public clouds for some of their workloads to gain an automated, pay-as-you-go, utility experience and many vendors have delivered application mobility to the cloud,” said Kuchibhotla. 

“But multicloud database management solutions have been lacking. With many workloads still on-premises due to data sovereignty and other issues, enterprises need a single tool to manage their heterogeneous database estates across different clouds and database clusters on-premise.”

That’s the value-add with the release of Era 2.0, which has been extended to hybrid and multicloud architectures. It extends the automation, features, and simplicity of Era on Nutanix HCI to clouds so administrators can apply the same governance practices to database instances and copies wherever they reside.

Which is no small feat.

“An application makes certain assumptions about the database it’s running,” Kuchibhotla said. 

“That includes everything from versions to patches, security policies, data availability policies like recovery point objectives (RPOs), storage provisioning, etcetera.” 

Public cloud services typically provide a standardized database that is not very sensitive to changes, he said. 

“Era 2.0 lets you apply your enterprise governance for database operations for all of your databases wherever they are deployed on public, private or hybrid clouds. We call it multi-database management on your terms.”

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The ability to move or replicate particular configurations across different clouds helps Andreas Weber, senior systems engineer at EDAG Engineering AG. 

“Admins can create databases according to the same standards, allowing a developer to copy common databases on short notice without a DBA," Weber said.

Bonus Benefits in the Public Cloud

In addition to accelerating and simplifying database operations, Kutchibhotla said Era provides choice of where to run databases and new ways of managing costs.

“With the extremely granular metering capabilities of the public cloud, instead of buying capacity by the year, computing resources can be purchased in increments,” said Kuchibhotla. 

He said organizations are now thinking differently about where they run their database.

“A 48-core database box with 24 sockets, 40,000 IOPS, and half a terabyte of memory can cost $140k per year. But a database-as-a-service that is offered as pay-as-you-go could cost significantly less.”

First available on AWS, Kuchibhotla said Era will run on other public cloud providers such as Azure.

Gene Knauer is a contributing writer who specializes in IT and business topics. He is also the author of  Herding Goldfish: The Professional Content Marketing Writer in an Age of Digital Media and Short Attention Spans.

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