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Bringing databases to the center of a modern business

August 19, 2020
Andi Gutmans

GM & VP of Engineering, Google Cloud Databases

For many decades, databases have been the engines fueling the most business-critical enterprise workloads across industries such as retail, banking, manufacturing, and healthcare. These are the systems that, for example, allow money to move around the world and supplies to get to hospitals and patients when they need it most. These workloads require the highest levels of reliability, durability, and performance. As the keepers of the world’s most critical data, databases are top of mind as enterprises accelerate their adoption of cloud and consider how to meet new and changing demands. 

We have partnered with some of the largest global enterprises and have seen some clear trends emerge. While the amount of data managed by applications continues to grow at an unbelievable rate, companies are rethinking how they handle this data. They want to increase the speed at which they build and launch new features and not get bogged down in maintaining and scaling databases, which ultimately stifles innovation. They’re increasingly adopting databases with open APIs—freeing themselves from restrictive licenses and maintaining portability of their data. They’re having to meet new, stringent regulations for security and data sovereignty, like GDPR or CCPA, which introduce new complexity and the need for more controls as they scale globally. 

As these companies map out their cloud journeys, multi-cloud and hybrid strategies are the default. What’s most exciting to see is how they’re looking to transform their business through new data-driven applications that deliver always-on availability, local experiences at a global level, and synchronization across all channels. 

These trends are top of mind as customers embark on their journey to cloud, and there is no single path that’s right for everyone. We believe in meeting customers where they are so they can reap the benefits of the cloud and catalyze what they can deliver to their business.  

Taking a three-phase journey
Whether it’s to increase their agility and pace of innovation, better manage costs, or entirely shut down data centers, we’re seeing customers accelerate their move to cloud and follow a three-phase journey: migration, modernization, and transformation. 

We have customers who are trying to move as many as thousands of applications and databases to the cloud, frequently on a tight timeline. They need a fast-track approach to lift and shift what they’re running today to the cloud. This “as-is” migration already adds tremendous value, even if it doesn’t provide the full benefits of cloud-native capabilities. We’ve partnered closely with our customers to transition large database estates of both commercial and open source databases to our environment in this migration phase. Fully managed database services such as Cloud SQL (offered for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server) provide familiarity while letting customers offload the 24/7 management of their databases to Google Cloud. By adopting managed services, they can refocus their resources on moving the business forward and improving productivity, leaving the heavy lifting of ensuring a highly available environment to us. Our Bare Metal Solution for Oracle workloads allows customers to lower overall costs while maintaining existing investments.

Once migrated, many of our customers seek to modernize their database environments by transitioning off legacy databases and onto open source databases. The lack of licensing flexibility, high costs, and constrained deployment options highly motivate customers to make the needed investment to transition off. With open source databases having become enterprise-ready, customers are able to remove operational limitations and seamlessly handle unpredictable demand, all without compromising on performance and reliability. By modernizing, DevOps teams can better manage their development and testing cycles, push new releases faster, and improve accuracy and predictability overall.

To release new features to customers faster, Autotrader migrated their Oracle database to Cloud SQL. This meant the teams could make changes with less risk and, by moving to a managed service, AutoTrader can focus more on improving its products. After migrating, AutoTrader’s release cadence improved by over 140% (year over year) with an improved success rate of 99.87%.

For customers looking to build next-gen applications entirely in the cloud, they are in the transformation phase. This is about unlocking new possibilities and competitive differentiation for businesses. For relational workloads, Cloud Spanner leads in its ability to run at global scale with strong consistency, all while delivering industry-leading reliability (5 9s). For non-relational workloads, this same global consistency with 5 9s availability is achieved with Cloud Firestore—enabling an unmatched experience to build mobile, web, and IoT applications with live synchronization. Cloud Bigtable, a scalable, NoSQL database service, is ideal for building apps that need high throughput and scalability for key/value data, and for enabling streaming analytics and machine learning use cases. 

Building transformational applications goes beyond any specific service; it’s about how they can work together to deliver game-changing benefits. Cloud-native databases integrate with other services in Google Cloud, enabling you to run your IT systems and apps as microservices and apply advanced analytics and AI to your data. In just one example, social media platform ShareChat saw their traffic grow 500% in the span of just a few days, and were able to scale Spanner horizontally with zero lines of code change.

Wherever the customer is in this journey, we’re focused at Google Cloud on supporting them with the services, best practices, and tooling ecosystem to enable their success. Whether they’re all-in on transformation, or just looking to take the first step, we enable them to mix and match these options to migrate at the pace that’s realistic and manageable for their teams and organization. 

This week at Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir, check out expert sessions and demos to learn more about our entire suite of database offerings. And explore how organizations rely on Google Cloud databases to power their most critical applications, drive new innovation, and build better experiences for their customers.

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