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CockroachDB serverless database debuts with migration tools

After a year in preview, the database vendor is making its serverless offering generally available. It provides a new production-ready database for distributed SQL.

Cockroach Labs on Wednesday advanced its CockroachDB serverless database, alongside a new set of migration tools the vendor has codenamed Molt.

The well-funded vendor, based in New York City, has raised $633 million in venture capital to develop the CockroachDB-distributed SQL database.

The last major update for the platform was the CockroachDB 21.1 release that came out on May 24, integrating enhanced automation and scalability features. For the past year, Cockroach Labs has been testing its new serverless cloud database-as-a-service (DBaaS).

That service is generally available as of Wednesday. The serverless DBaaS provides organizations with a consumption-based, fully managed deployment of CockroachDB that -- with the general release -- also integrates performance and availability improvements.

CockroachDB competes against a number of distributed SQL vendors' databases, including YugabyteDB, which also has a serverless cloud option, as well as Google's AlloyDB, launched in May.

Among the users of the CockroachDB Serverless databases is blockchain gaming platform Rainmaker Games, which is using the service to power its gaming and community site.

The serverless databases has helped his company get its services running quicker since it doesn't need to deploy, configure and manage the database, said Jonathan Kennell, co-founder and CTO of Rainmaker Games.

An attractive key attribute of CockroachDB is its PostgreSQL compatibility, Kennell said. While multiple hosted PostgreSQL options are on the market, scalability can be a challenge, he said. With CockroachDB Serverless, that auto-scaling is built in.

"With CockroachDB Serverless, we're able to get started quickly and only pay for what we use," Kennel said. "There is zero complexity or bottlenecks. We can simply focus on building the best application for our users."

How CockroachDB has advanced its distributed SQL serverless database

Over the year that CockroachDB has been in preview, the vendor has improved the database to support production workloads.

With CockroachDB Serverless, we're able to get started quickly and only pay for what we use. There is zero complexity or bottlenecks. We can simply focus on building the best application for our users.
Jonathan KennellCo-founder and CTO, Rainmaker Games

With the general release, the serverless database now has a service-level agreement commitment of 99.99% uptime availability for serverless clusters. CockroachDB Serverless now also provides SQL activity reporting and metrics to help users troubleshoot problems.

Cockroach Labs also now has a series of third-party integrations available in preview. One of the integrations is with open sources software vendor HashiCorp's Terraform, a widely used infrastructure-as-code tool. Terraform can be used to access the CockroachDB API to provision database clusters within the serverless service.

"We recognize that many customers are using TerraForm in order to deploy their architectures," Kimball said. "This is all about enabling efficient utilization of our cloud platform through the Terraform orchestration interface, which we find that is very well adopted in the ecosystem."

Distributed SQL migrations get a boost with Molt

Moving data from an on-premises database or even another type of cloud database into CockroachDB can be a complex effort. In an attempt to ease migrations, Cockroach Labs is now previewing its Molt database migration capability.

The term "Molt" has a meaning related to the insect naming origins of the database vendor, which associates itself with the nearly indestructible cockroach.

"Molting is one of the stages that insects go through. It's a growth stage, but it's also about transformation," Kimball said.

The initial preview release of the CockroachDB Molt service integrates with the AWS database migration service to get data into the cloud. The Molt service then goes a step further, structuring data and converting database procedures to run effectively within the CockroachDB distributed SQL database.

Kimball said he thinks there will still be a need for professional services to help with complex database migrations. But the vendor's goal with Molt is to automate as much as possible.

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