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CockroachDB update scales distributed SQL database

The latest database release from Cockroach Labs focuses on providing optimized capabilities for large deployments that can handle up to a petabyte of data.

Cockroach Labs continues to build out its CockroachDB database with the general availability of the 21.2 release on Nov. 16.

It has been an eventful year for Cockroach Labs, which raised $160 million in funding in January and launched a new serverless cloud database-as-a-service (DBaaS) version of its distributed SQL platform in October.

The 21.2 release is the second major update of the distributed SQL database in 2021 and follows the CockroachDB 21.1 update that debuted in May.

CockroachDB 21.2 adds capabilities that assist with large deployment scaling, for both self-hosted users and those running the DBaaS. Among the enhanced features are optimized backup and recovery capabilities alongside SQL query optimizations.

"CockroachDB [21.2] release's theme is to further bolster its scalability and performance aspects," said Sanjeev Mohan, founder of SanjMo, an advisory firm. "These changes are helping address the continuing explosion of data volumes, and the need to support more data consumers and more use cases."

CockroachDB features bolster distributed SQL scalability

Mohan noted that organizations are increasingly using CockroachDB for large and complex applications.

Mohan noted that the vendor added improvements that help with operational aspects, such as the new index usage statistics that can help with acutely detailed monitoring of the database.

Among the new features in CockroachDB 21.2 is an enhanced change data capture (CDC) capability.

Screenshot of CockroachDB 21.2
CockroachDB 21.2 provides improved visibility into the performance of larger data workload operations.

Spencer Kimball, CEO and co-founder of Cockroach Labs, explained that CDC is widely used across the CockroachDB user base as an integration point between the database and other tools, such as data warehouses.

"A lot of modern architectures are event driven and CDC gives this really critical bit of functionality that lets anything changing the database feed and drive other parts of a data architecture," he said.

With CockroachDB 21.2, Kimball said the vendor has improved CDC for larger scale deployments that can reach up to the petabyte range for data. One of the improvements is observability of CDC data, which enables a database administrator to have more visibility into data flow.

CockroachDB [21.2] release's theme is to further bolster its scalability and performance. These changes are helping address the continuing explosion of data volumes, and the need to support more data consumers and more use cases.
Sanjeev MohanFounder, SanjMo

CDC scalability has also been improved with a new connection mechanism. Kimball explained that Cockroach has long supported Kafka as a way to stream data, but the database update adds a new webhook capability that offers another option that CockroachDB users have requested and can provide a high throughput option for data requests.

Backup and disaster recovery scale up

The ability to rapidly recover a large database is also addressed with the CockroachDB 21.2 update.

The distributed structure of CockroachDB provides a high degree of resiliency for both data and the database, but incidents can still occur. In particular, Kimball noted that when an organization wants to revert a change made to the database, being able to recover from a previous backup is critical.

Kimball said his team worked on accelerating and optimizing backup and recovery for large data deployments. He noted that with large databases, operators also want to have more visibility into recovery operations -- a capability that CockroachDB 21.2 also provides.

"With massive backups and restores, it becomes increasingly important that operators have visibility into exactly what's happening," Kimball said.

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