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PlanetScale extends multi-cloud database as a service

Open source-based PlanetScaleDB adds support for Microsoft Azure, enabling a multi-cloud database as a service platform that supports the three major public cloud providers.

PlanetScale launched its database as a service, or DBaaS, in November, with support for Google Cloud Platform and AWS. PlanetScale is expanding the service, this week announcing support for Microsoft Azure and enabling multi-region and multi-cloud deployment for its PlanetScaleDB cloud-native database.

PlanetScale was founded by former Google YouTube engineers who built an open source project known as Vitess, which enables the deployment of a distributed MySQL database in the cloud. The Vitess project became part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation in February 2018, joining other notable cloud-native efforts, including the Kubernetes container orchestration platform. PlanetScale's PlanetScaleDB service is all about providing a commercial support platform for Vitess and now gives organizations the ability to run multi-region and multi-cloud database deployments.

The ability to run a distributed database across multiple cloud regions is not a unique capability, according to IDC analyst Carl Olofson. That said, he added, the PlanetScaleDB update is interesting in several respects.

"The multi-region capability is particularly interesting to enterprises with globally distributed operations and to those looking for a multi-region DR [disaster recovery] capability," Olofson said. "The thing that sets PlanetScale apart is that it is built using MySQL, and existing MySQL applications can run on it without any code changes."

COVID-19 driving demand for DBaaS

The current COVID-2019 pandemic has seen hundreds of millions of people working from home and is having a broad impact on the IT landscape.

The increased online demand caused by the rapid growth in online users may create a demand both for more data volume processing and for better distribution of that processing regionally.
Carl OlofsonAnalyst, IDC

"I don't see the pandemic as threatening the reliability of cloud services," Olofson said. "But, in certain industries, the increased online demand caused by the rapid growth in online users may create a demand both for more data volume processing and for better distribution of that processing regionally -- which, again, would work in PlanetScale's and other managed, distributed cloud database services' favor."

PlanetScaleDB multi-cloud DBaaS based on Vitess

According to Jiten Vaidya, CEO and co-founder of PlanetScale, PlanetScaleDB is built as a DBaaS on top of Kubernetes.

"Vitess is mainly known for its ability to horizontally shard transactional databases widely," Vaidya said. "We used it at Google to run YouTube's databases on Borg, which was the blueprint for Kubernetes."

When PlanetScale launched, it was based on the Vitess 4.0 release that became generally available in November. Vaidya said there have since been ongoing improvements and bug fixes in Vitess that are reflected in the PlanetScaleDB service.

PlanetScaleDB brings multi-cloud support
PlanetScaleDB's DBaaS enables master and replica instances to be distributed across multiple cloud providers.

With the addition of Azure support, Vaidya said, PlanetScaleDB can provide users with multi-cloud support that can enable deployment of a database across multiple cloud providers.

"What we are doing is allowing you to distribute your masters and replicas across regions and across multiple clouds," Vaidya said. "We can allow you to fail over and basically change the master from, say, GCP [Google Cloud Platform] to AWS with one click."

The ability to enable the rapid failover across clouds also requires some additional networking capabilities, which PlanetScale gets from Cilium, an open source networking project. PlanetScale uses Cilium to route packets across the different cloud providers.

Hybrid deployments are coming

Looking beyond supporting database deployment across multiple public cloud providers, PlanetScale is also working on supporting hybrid deployments that will include on-premises environments. Vaidya referred to the approach as "bring your own Kubernetes (BYOK)," as users can choose to deploy PlanetScaleDB on the Kubernetes infrastructure of their own choice.

Vaidya said PlanetScaleDB customers today see 12 regions, with U.S. East, U.S. West, Europe and Asia regions for each cloud provider.

"So, there are 12 total regions that you can distribute your workloads on," he said. "BYOK will allow every customer to create a new custom region."

Next Steps

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